A wart is a small growth that usually appears on a person’s hands or feet. They usually have a rough texture. Warts are caused by viruses, most commonly the human papillomavirus, or HPV. A wart grows because the HPV causes an overgrowth of the protein keratin.
Warts are usually harmless and go away on their own. However, the patient should see our doctor about their warts if they bleed, are painful, spread to other parts of the body, change in appearance and/or come back.
How are Warts Treated?
While warts do go away on their own, many people prefer to have them removed. Consequently, there are many treatments. There are different creams and ointments used to get rid of warts, and most of them contain salicylic acid. There are also medicated band-aids coated with salicylic acid.
Sometimes, our doctor will perform surgery to get rid of the wart. Unfortunately, warts removed in this fashion tend to come back. Laser therapy is often used to remove warts that have resisted other types of treatment. Cryosurgery is another popular method for removing warts.
What is Cryosurgery?
Cryosurgery involves the use of intense cold to remove abnormal cells. It can be used to remove anything ranging from warts to tumors. Liquid nitrogen, the most commonly used substance in wart removal, has a temperature between -346° and -320° F. It will, therefore, freeze cells immediately on contact.
During the cryosurgery procedure, the medical professional will spray liquid nitrogen onto the wart. The liquid nitrogen freezes the wart and destroys its cells. The wart becomes a blister that gradually turns into a scab. A week or two after treatment, the scab falls off the patient’s skin. Any frozen cells below the surface of the skin will be absorbed by the body.
While cryosurgery usually requires only one treatment, a large wart may need multiple treatments. If the patient needs more than one treatment, there will be one to three weeks between each treatment.
Aren’t There Home Kits for Cryotherapy?
Yes. People can purchase kits to be used at home. However, without the supervision of a medical professional, burns and permanent scarring are much more likely. The person needs to read and follow the instructions exactly to avoid complications. While these kits can be used on the hands and feet, they should not be used on the face, so they are limited.
Learn More About Cryosurgery
If you have been considering wart removal, visit Dr. Yeoman’s Dermatology Office to get more information about cryosurgery. This is one of the most popular ways to eradicate warts on the skin. We have offices in Paragould and Poplar Bluff. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.