What is Wart Freezing: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results
Warts are raised bumps on the skin caused by an infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus causes the cells in the outer layer of the skin to grow too quickly, forming a wart. Warts are most common on the hands and feet. They can be painful and itchy, and can be unsightly.
Wart freezing (also known as cryosurgery or cryotherapy) is a common treatment option for warts. This procedure involves applying a special cold agent directly to the wart, which destroys the infected cells. It is a painless and relatively quick procedure, with very little recovery time needed.
Overview of Wart Freezing
Warts can be removed using a variety of treatments, including surgery, medications, and lasers. Wart freezing, however, is a simple, nonsurgical option. During the procedure, a medical professional will use a device containing a special cryogenic agent—usually liquid nitrogen—to freeze the wart. The freezing process causes the wart to complete painlessly blister and eventually fall off. The procedure is usually done in a doctor’s office or clinic, and takes only a few minutes.
The results of the procedure vary, depending on the type of wart and individual characteristics. In most cases, the wart will disappear after one to three treatments. If the wart does not respond to treatment, other options may be recommended, such as medications or surgery.
Benefits of Wart Freezing
Wart freezing is a safe, straightforward, and relatively painless procedure. It is a common treatment option for warts, and there are a variety of benefits that make it an attractive option for treatment.
One of the main benefits of wart freezing is that the procedure is extremely quick and easy. The freezing process takes only a few minutes and there is usually little to no recovery time. The procedure is also generally well tolerated by patients, and there is no need for anesthesia since it is painless.
Another advantage of wart freezing is that it is a relatively low-cost procedure. It can be a cost-effective way to reduce the number of warts that need to be removed. Additionally, there is no need for a long recovery period, so patients can get back to their usual activities quickly.
Expected Results from Wart Freezing
It is important to remember that the results of wart freezing will vary from one individual to another. Generally, the warts will respond to the treatment within one to three procedures. This can be especially beneficial for large warts that are not responding to other treatments.
In some cases, the warts may not completely respond to the treatment and may require additional treatments or medications. In such cases, the doctor may recommend other options, such as topical creams, surgery, lasers or medications, to remove the wart.
After the procedure, the affected area of skin may be swollen or sore for a few days. Most patients recover quickly and often resume their normal activities shortly after the treatment. It is important to keep the area clean and avoid activities that can irritate the skin. In some cases, the doctor may recommend the use of over-the-counter products such as creams or lotions to improve the healing process.
Side Effects and Risks of Wart Freezing
Like any medical procedure, wart freezing can pose certain risks. Common side effects can include mild skin irritation and redness, which should subside within a few days, as well as soreness and swelling of the skin. Very rarely, the freezing process can cause blistering, scarring, or infection.
Patients with neurological or circulatory conditions, pre-existing skin conditions, or diabetes must be carefully monitored by a doctor during the procedure, so it is important to inform your doctor about any medical conditions before undergoing treatment.
Overall, wart freezing is a common, safe, and relatively painless procedure for the removal of warts. This procedure can take only a few minutes and results can be seen within a few treatments. The side effects are usually mild and most patients resume their normal activities soon after the procedure. However, it is important to speak to your doctor for the best possible treatment option for your particular situation.
Definition and Overview
Wart freezing is also called cryosurgery or cryotherapy. It involves using gas such as liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the warts before they are ablated from the skin.
Warts are some of the most common skin conditions affecting Americans. They are characterized by their small rough texture caused by the fast buildup of keratin, a type of hard protein found on top of the skin, as it’s activated by the virus, specifically the human papilloma virus. The specific strain is different from the one that leads to cervical cancer.
They can appear in many parts of the body and may have other distinct characteristics depending on their type. Those that grow on the hands and feet are often called common warts. If they are particularly found on the feet, such as the toes and the heel, they are called the plantar warts. Those that develop normally on the armpits and eyelids are filiform warts.
Since they caused by a virus, warts can easily spread. A person may contract the virus by using an object that is used by a person with warts or touching a surface where the virus is still active.
Who should undergo and expected results
Sometimes warts can go away by themselves, but they can also grow in numbers as the virus is transmitted to other parts of the body. They may also be hard to control if the person has compromised immune system.
A person whose warts are bleeding, soring, oozing with some discharge, or changing appearance must consult a doctor immediately.
Cryotherapy is a common or standard wart treatment, but it can also be painful, and the pain may last for a couple of days. Further, depending on the location, size, and condition of the wart, it may take as many as 4 sessions, each one at least 2 weeks apart to allow for skin healing.
How the procedure works
The process is usually outpatient and carried out in either a hospital or a clinic. The trained technician first cleanses the skin and applies a numbing agent or local anesthesia to minimize pain and discomfort.
Cryotherapy uses a probe, a wand-like device that delivers the gas that causes freezing. The gas, on the other hand, comes from a machine. Since the warts are just on the surface of the skin, the gas may be delivered through a spray or a cotton swab. The applicator or the probe then freezes the warts before they are removed using surgical tools.
In some cases, it may be necessary to remove a part of the warts before cryotherapy begins.
Possible risks and complications
The risks involving warts freezing are minimal, especially since the procedure itself is non-invasive. But perhaps the biggest concern is affecting the healthy tissues. Once tissues, whether healthy or not, are exposed to extremely cold temperatures, they die.
Further, like any other surgery, there’s the possibility of bleeding and infection. Medications may be provided to reduce the risk as well as to control the pain.
Habif TP. Warts, herpes simplex, and other viral infections. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 12.
Mulhem E, Pinelis S. Treatment of nongenital cutaneous warts. Am Fam Physician. 2011;84:288-293.