Although “cryosurgery” may sound intimidating, it is actually a very simple, quick and standard procedure that is used to remove a wart with liquid nitrogen. Many patients come to a dermatologist when a wart is refusing to go away on its own (even after over-the-counter treatments) or when the wart is painful or a cosmetic concern. While warts have often been associated with disgust or old age, they can develop on anyone and are nothing to be embarrassed about. To understand why skin warts may need cryosurgery, it is helpful to know exactly what causes them in the first place.
Warts are caused by a virus, but not the type of virus that makes your sick or gets inside your body. However, because warts are viral, this can make them difficult to treat. Imagine getting a cold (which is a virus). There is no medication to necessarily eradicate the virus, so it is typically a matter of just waiting for your body to fight off the virus. The virus in a skin wart is similar. However, it may take months instead of days for the body to recognize the virus and fight it off.
By choosing cryosurgery from your dermatologist, most warts are effectively removed. Cryosurgery is a procedure that freezes the wart by applying liquid nitrogen. After cryosurgery, you will not leave the office with wart-free skin. In fact, the area may look worse then when you came in. It is common for the wart to be puffy, red and even blister in the days following liquid nitrogen treatment. It will typically form a scab that falls off within a week or two. At this point, your wart needs to be rechecked to see if another treatment is necessary. The reason cryosurgery is effective is because it causes enough inflammation in your skin to trigger your body’s response to attack the virus.
If you or your child has a wart that is painful or aesthetically displeasing, please make an appointment with one of our board certified dermatologists at Olansky Dermatology Associates. We use the latest wart removal methods so that your skin stays healthy and beautiful through all stages of life. We are happy to educate you on the treatment options available to you, as cryosurgery is one of many wart removal methods we offer.