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Cryotherapy involves freezing a wart using a very cold substance (usually liquid nitrogen). Cryotherapy is a standard treatment for warts and can be done in a doctor's office. The liquid nitrogen application usually takes less than a minute.
Most warts require 1 to 4 treatments, with 1 to 3 weeks between each treatment.
There are over-the-counter products to freeze warts. These products are less powerful than liquid nitrogen. They may work for some warts, but it may work better to have your doctor freeze the warts.
Pain from cryotherapy can last up to 3 days. Healing is generally quick (7 to 14 days) with little or no scarring.
Within hours after treatment, a blister may form.
Multiple treatments may be needed to get rid of the wart.
Cryotherapy is usually used if salicylic acid treatment has not eliminated a wart or if quick treatment is desired.
Cryotherapy usually gets rid of warts. Two or more treatments may be needed.
If done carefully, cryotherapy poses little risk of scarring.
If a wart is thick and requires extensive or repeated freezing, nerves around the wart can be damaged, scarring may occur, and the skin may take a long time to recover.
Cryotherapy can cause redness, blisters, pain, or tenderness. Healing may take a week or longer. Cryotherapy can also cause skin colour changes where you had the treatment. This may be more noticeable if you have darker skin.
Current as of: March 3, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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