A skin tag is small piece of skin, usually, but not necessarily, on a stalk; the medical term being ‘Acrochordon’. Freezing a skin tag is possible because they come up on the neck, shoulders, face, and other exposed regions of the skin, either as a response to irritation, or to aging. Most skin tags do not require treatment but, occasionally, they arise in a place that may be irritating, such as on the neck where it is rubbed by a collar, or unsightly, such as on the eyelids.
Skin tags are normally benign but if there are any changes in color, size, shape or there is any bleeding from the tags, then they should be checked by a doctor to ensure there is no malignancy there. There are various methods of removal of skin tags, but the most popular is by freezing, also known as cryotherapy (from the Greek, meaning cryo – cold and therapy – cure).
Freezing a skin tag can be done in several ways; by using an applicator, such as a swab, dip it in the cryogen (the extremely cold substance, usually liquid nitrogen) and then apply it briefly to the skin tag. This is typically done in a few seconds, so freezing a skin tag does not require a local anesthetic. Another method of freezing a skin tag is to spray the cryogen on to the tag directly.
A third usage in freezing a skin tag is by a probe being pre-frozen in the cryogen and applied to the skin tag. All methods of freezing a skin tag offer a good result, with few side effects, although a second round of treatment may be needed for some persistent tags. Freezing a skin tag is the best option in most cases, because it is non-invasive, thus avoiding infection arising in the skin tag. There are always risks in surgery and the elderly do not tolerate surgery as well as they do freezing a skin tag.
Also there is little risk of damaging healthy tissue whilst freezing a skin tag, whereas surgery may leave slight scarring. Other benefits of freezing a skin tag is that it takes between seconds and a matter of minutes to complete, depending upon the size and location of the skin tag, and the method of freezing the skin tag, as described above. In a dermatology out-patient department, freezing a skin tag is a product line treatment, enabling a fast turnover of patients.
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