Cryotherapy for Psoriasis Treatment

Title: Cryotherapy as a treatment for psoriasis.
: Shamsadini S, et al.
Publication: Dermatol Online J. 2005 Aug 1;11(2):21.

The authors wanted to evaluate the use of cryotherapy (freezing or low temperature therapy) to treat small plaque psoriasis. To do this, they enrolled 63 patients who had a clinical diagnosis of chronic plaque-type psoriasis.

For each patient, the author evaluated 2 psoriatic plaques of almost the same size and severity on similar parts of the body. They spray one of the plaques with liquid nitrogen every other day for 2 weeks and left the other plaque untreated as control.

The authors found:

  • 4 patients (6.35%) had complete resolution of the treated plaque
  • 19 patients (30.1%) had mild to moderate resolution
  • 40 patients (63.5%) had no improvement

There was only one complication – one patient developed infection. The author suggested that cryotherapy might mediate mild resolution of plaques by inducing normal skin growth following destruction by freezing, in a reverse Koebner phenomenon. The authors concluded that cryotherapy was safe to use in treatment of small-plaque psoriasis, but with limited efficacy.

Editor’s Note: Koebner phenomenon or isomorphic response, is the appearance of lesion along the site of injury. The reverse Koebner phenomenon is seen when an area of psoriatic lesion clears up following injury by electrodessication, sandpaper abrasion, infection, and surgery.

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