Cryotherapy is a technique for treating abnormal skin cells with freezing temperatures. Liquid nitrogen is applied to a skin lesion with a cotton-tipped applicator or an instrument called a cryoprobe. The frozen area may blister form a scab as it heals.
Cryotherapy can also be used as a pain treatment that deadens irritated nerves.
Cryosurgery is a specific type of cryotherapy that uses extremely cold temperatures to kill cancer cells. Cryosurgery is used most often with skin cancer and cervical cancer. In the case of cervical cancer, liquid nitrogen is placed in a cryoprobe and inserted into the body, where it freezes the tumor.