Warts & Cryotherapy

Health Articles > Warts > Cryotherapy

While there are many different ways in which you can treat warts, cryotherapy can be a very effective method, particularly in the cases of stubborn warts.  It is not recommended for plantar warts because with cryotherapy, a blister forms and this would be very painful to walk on afterwards. The advantage is that crotherapy is not an invasive procedure. The wart or warts are destroyed by the application of extreme cold on the cells so that water ice crystals form. These ice crystals expand, pushing through the cell walls and eliminating the wart.

The way cryotherapy is carried out is that your doctor or health care practitioner cleans the wart and the surrounding skin before applying liquid nitrogen as a spray, on a cotton swab or through a tube. The cryogen or freezing agent such as liquid nitrogen may sting and if someone is particularly sensitive then a local anesthetic can be given. After the treatment, the doctor will cover the area with a small bandage for protection. A blister forms, crusts over and then falls off within the space of 2 to 3 days. The affected cells in the wart are killed off but the connective tissue remains unharmed so that the area can heal, usually without the risk of scarring.  Although the virus itself cannot be cured by the cryotherapy, it does tend to dissipate into the surrounding tissue where in many cases the immune system takes care of it.

The whole procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes.  Just a couple of days later the wart will have been replaced with new skin cells.  In some cases, the procedure will need to be repeated again 2 to 3 weeks later for maximum effect.  Cryotherapy for warts often requires more than one treatment to be successful.

Depending on the type of wart, how many there are and where they are, this method of cryotherapy can work well and, apart from those warts on the soles of the feet, can be used on many different types of warts whether on the face, tops of the feet, hands and even on the genital area.  

The risks are small, with perhaps some pain and sensitivity during the procedure.  Scarring and infection risks are minimal but blood blisters can form if during the freezing action, any local blood vessels rupture.