Cryotherapy (cryosurgery) destroys genital warts by freezing them. A doctor applies a very cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen, around the warts to freeze them. You may have a mild or moderate burning sensation during treatment.
Recovery time depends on the location and number of warts removed. Healing usually occurs in 1 to 3 weeks. After treatment, you may have:
- Irritation, soreness, or mild pain.
- Dead tissue that sheds off.
- Sores or blisters.
It is best to avoid sexual contact until the treated area heals.
Cryotherapy may be done when genital warts are visible, growing in a small area, or bothersome. It's usually not used when genital warts are widespread.
Cryotherapy can be helpful in removing genital warts. Most of the time it removes warts. But warts may grow back. More than one treatment is often needed.
Some risks of cryotherapy include pain during and after treatment, skin color changes, blisters, and skin irritation.
The number and severity of side effects depend on the number of freeze/thaw cycles used during cryotherapy and how large an area was treated.
Current as of: February 11, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology