Although not a deliberate attempt to make you throw up in your mouth, this review is gross and for that I’m somewhat sorry. My main goal was to spare you the experience I had and for that you should thank me.
I’m one of those people that, through no fault of their own, grow skin tags on their body. If you don’t know what a skin tag it is just a nub of skin that hangs off your body. If you don’t know what one looks like go do a Google search. I would personally rather spare you the image of a skin tag. They are harmless but they do tend to just keep growing. Fortunately, while some poor buggers get skin tags in their nether regions (the mommy and daddy parts) mine are limited to my neck and little niches here and there on my torso.
Here's a cute bunny rabbit to calm your nerves before you continue:
In my adult life I have been to the doctor 3 times to have skin tags removed. The first two times I went in, they looked at them and said, “Why don’t we just cut these suckers off” and that is exactly what they did. The bigger ones required a small injection of local anesthesia which was a quick, almost painless pinprick. The smaller ones they just lopped off which was also a quick and almost painless pinprick. Some bled, most didn’t. Bottom line, you went in, they cut off the biggest 20-30 of them and a week later you would never know they ever existed.
I’ve put off going for about 2 years now, but in recent months, a cluster of 3 tags right in the center of the back of my neck were causing me considerable discomfort. They were right where my t-shirt collar rubbed and it was pretty darn annoying. So I finally went in to get them removed. The doctor looked at them and said, “Let’s get these suckers frozen off.” Huh? Frozen? What?
Apparently this is the new fad in skin tag removal. It’s called Cryotherapy. The doctor filled a Styrofoam cup up with liquid nitrogen, had me take my shirt off and took a pair of plastic tweezers in hand and started. He would dip the tweezers into the cup where it would boil and gurgle for a while. When that noise would calm down he would remove the tweezers from the cup and pinch a skin tag with the frozen tips of the tweezers. He would hold it within its sub-zero grasp until the skin tag turned completely white and then would move on to the next one. Every few minutes he would re-dip the tweezers into the cup.
While doing this he was regaling me with the benefits of Cryotherapy removal of skin tags. Saying that it was much less painful, a doctor could do a larger number of them in one visit and they wouldn’t bleed. Some of this was surprising to me, especially the bit about being less painful. Perhaps I have a low threshold for pain but each and every one of these hurt like the dickens while he was pinching them with frozen tweezers. Let me jump ahead in the story and say that the only benefit he claimed this procedure had that ended up being true is he was able to take care of over 100 of them (far more than I even knew I had) but as you will soon see, that ended up not being a particularly good thing either.
Back to my visit to the doctor…after about ½ an hour he said, “OK, that should do it. Now these are going to blister, turn bright red, then black and then should just fall off within a week or two.” My brain could barely comprehend the words that had just come out of his mouth. In fact, a week later, I’m still struggling with the whole concept. I had no clue what he meant by “blister up” but I was soon to find out. Before putting my shirt back on I went and looked in the mirror. Every single one of them were now 3 times bigger than they were when I walked in. Also, instead of being flesh-colored and therefore somewhat hidden and discrete they were now all bright flaming red. In short I felt completely lit up like some grotesque Christmas tree from hell.
Here's are some pretty flowers to make up for that last paragraph:
When I went in to the doctor, two of my skin tags were quite large (about the size of a pea). One was on my neck, the other on my back. The one on my neck was now the size of a grape. I put my shirt on, walked out to my car, and when I sat down in my car, I instantly felt the back of my shirt get wet. Moments later I was hit with this smell that can only be described as moldy crotch-cheese. This, was undoubtedly the skin tag on my back. See when the doctor said blister, I was confused because I failed to conjure up the image of a sunburn blister, but that is exactly what they did. The skin around them filled up with yellowish fluid and expanded to make each tag appear to be 3 times their previous size. If you’ve ever had a sunburn blister and had it pop you also know that the smell is something akin to moldy crotch-cheese.
Not only did it hurt when he was freezing them, for the next 24 hours or so it felt like there were 100 needles being pressed into my neck, and oh ya, they all ended up popping and smelling. Try to remember that the reason I went into get them removed is because those 3 were rubbing and were uncomfortable. Now all 100 of them are rubbing and are uncomfortable. A week later they are still rubbing and are uncomfortable. Another reason I wanted them removed was they are gross looking and embarrassing, but at least they were skin colored. Now they are to the dark red stage and are very visible to the whole world. It’s as though they know they are going away (at least I hope to hell they will go away soon) and they want to get 2-3 years worth of embarrassment packed into 2-3 weeks time.
Again, sorry. Here's a nice rainbow to try counter the effects of the mental images I'm no doubt creating:
Today is one week since the procedure and I woke up with blood on the collar of my undershirt where some of the smaller ones are bleeding. So much for that benefit. Also the large one on my neck seems to have a small amount of puss oozing from it. I will end at this point, even though I am not done with them, but because this is where if the doctor had used the “Why don’t we just cut these suckers off” method, there would not be any sign that they ever existed. Undoubtedly they will turn black and fall off and that will be kind of fun having black pieces of dead flesh falling off of me. I’m kidding. No that is one of the most horrifying aspects of this whole thing.
Needless to say I give this method of skin tag removal a great big zero. If your doctor is opposed to using the “Why don’t we just cut these suckers off” method, then find one who isn’t. Cryotherapy is not the way to go.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 JustJim