The procedure used to freeze genital warts is called cryotherapy. This procedure involves the application of a substance called liquid nitrogen, which freezes the affected genital tissues. Once the wart is covered with ice, it is allowed to thaw gradually. A few weeks after the procedure is performed to freeze genital warts, the wart tissue usually becomes dry and then separates from the body. It is important to note that one cryotherapy treatment may not always prove sufficient for treating genital warts; a person may need to follow up with additional treatments.
In many cases, cryotherapy treatments that are intended to freeze genital warts can be performed in just a short period of time; a doctor may freeze a wart using liquid nitrogen for less than 60 seconds at a time. After this initial freezing, a doctor typically allows the tissues to thaw gradually. In some cases, he may wait for a short period of time and then freeze the wart once more. The length of time a wart must be treated and the number of repeat applications may depend on the size of the wart and its location.
To prevent pain during a cryotherapy treatment, a doctor typically uses a numbing medication. This usually helps the patient to feel less discomfort during the procedure. Sometimes he may also remove dead skin in the area by cutting it away before beginning the procedure to freeze genital warts. He may then apply the liquid nitrogen to the genital wart using a spray device, a pointed device, or even a cotton swab.
After receiving treatment to freeze genital warts, a patient may have to wait a few weeks for it to fall off. Repeat freezing treatments may be required to produce results in some cases. In addition to follow-up visits to repeat treatment, a person may also have to see his doctor for follow-up examinations meant to determine whether or not the treatment was successful and to ensure the wart hasn't returned.
While the procedure used to freeze genital warts can be effective, there are risks a person faces when opting for this therapy. For example, a patient may experience pain during and after the procedure. Redness and swelling may occur as well. Blistering and scarring may also occur, and some people develop open sores after treatment. A person may also experience skin discoloration as the result of cryotherapy, and some people even experience lasting pain.