Warts are non-cancerous growths on the skin's surface caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). While they may be unsightly and cause occasional discomfort, common warts---such as plantar and flat warts---are generally harmless. Genital warts, also known as venereal warts or condylomata acuminata, are a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to other serious health problems. Fortunately, your doctor can treat both types of warts with cryotherapy, or cryosurgery. Cryotherapy is a liquid nitrogen wart removal process in which your doctor freezes the warts, causing them to slough off of your skin.
While cryotherapy may seem enticing or desirable, you should consult your doctor to determine if it is the best treatment option for your wart removal. Common warts often disappear by themselves over time without treatment. There are also treatment options such as over-the-counter salicylic acid and duct tape. These are less costly and less invasive. Genital warts may be best treated with doctor-prescribed topical creams and immune response boosters. Your doctor will inform you of all available treatment options and help you select the best one for your wart removal.
Liquid Nitrogen Treatment
Liquid nitrogen wart removal is performed in a doctor's office and does not require special preparation such as anesthesia. During cryotherapy your doctor will apply liquid nitrogen on and around each wart. This freezes the warts. The warts are then allowed to thaw and are frozen a second or third time, if necessary. The amount and intensity of freeze-and-thaw cycles depends on the size and density of each wart. The treatment is not very painful.
While liquid nitrogen treatment is effective in wart removal, it may not cure the HPV virus that causes the warts. Liquid nitrogen wart removal may also cause scarring of the affected area.
Post-Treatment Care and Recovery
Healing may take one to three weeks to complete. This varies by wart location and the quantity of lesions removed. There may be swelling, irritation, soreness and mild pain following the procedure. Ask your doctor about medications to combat these side effects if they are overly bothersome. Do not be alarmed if dead tissue gradually sheds off of the affected areas after liquid nitrogen treatment, as this is common.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience fever, odorous or yellowish discharge, continued pain or bleeding after genital wart removal. Avoid sexual contact until the affected area has healed completely.
Women who have had liquid nitrogen wart removal for vaginal or cervical warts should be aware of a watery discharge. Use sanitary napkins instead of tampons for two to three weeks following surgery.
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