Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Cryotherapy for Warts
Cryotherapy involves freezing a wart using a
very cold substance (usually liquid nitrogen). Cryotherapy is a standard
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.
Cryotherapy can also be done at home using an over-the-counter product such as Compound W Freeze Off. These home cryotherapy kits use a mixture of dimethyl ether and propane rather than liquid nitrogen. This mixture is used to soak a foam applicator that is then applied to the wart. This product may be safe for warts on the hands or feet but not for genital warts. Follow all instructions carefully to avoid serious burns and permanent scarring.
Pain from cryotherapy can last up to 3
days. Healing is generally quick (7 to 14 days) with little or no
Within hours after treatment, a blister may form.
Multiple treatments may be needed to get rid of the
Cryotherapy is usually used if
salicylic acid treatment has not eliminated a wart or if quick treatment is
Cryotherapy can destroy warts.
It gets rid of warts about half of the time.1
If done carefully, cryotherapy poses little risk
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.
There is a small chance of
infection associated with cryotherapy. Some signs of infection include:
If you can tolerate moderate,
short-term pain, cryotherapy may be a reasonable treatment option for you.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Habif TP, et al. (2011). Herpes simplex section of Viral infections. In Skin Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment, 3rd ed., pp. 224–229. Edinburgh: Saunders.
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.