Is It Painful to Freeze Warts? (with pictures)

Andrew Kirmayer
Andrew Kirmayer
Warts on a hand.
Warts on a hand.

Skin warts are generally caused by a virus, and are often recurring. A wart can be removed in various ways, and is often treated by freezing it in a doctor’s office. Known as cryosurgery, this method used to freeze warts can be somewhat painful. It can cause a stinging sensation as the area blisters, and then the treated site can become numb. A cold sensation is often followed by a burning feeling after the instrument is removed and the skin warms up again. The device used for the procedure is typically filled with liquid nitrogen.

Warts can be removed using liquid nitrogen.
Warts can be removed using liquid nitrogen.

When a procedure is performed to freeze warts, the area usually becomes red and starts to blister. There can be some pain for up to a few hours. A throbbing sensation is sometimes felt as well. The pain often subsides over time or with over-the-counter medication, unless there are complications. A blister that typically forms after the surgery should be left alone; if it is broken too soon, this can be painful and could also cause an infection.

Freezing warts with liquid nitrogen often causes blisters to form where the treatment was performed.
Freezing warts with liquid nitrogen often causes blisters to form where the treatment was performed.

The common types of warts on the hands and feet can be treated through freezing. Plantar warts on the feet, however, can have trouble healing if excessive pressure is put on them. Warts in other areas might be associated with a different condition, and may possibly require other treatments. After a procedure to freeze warts, it is generally important to let the site heal and the wart to fall off on its own. The wart can otherwise grow back if the virus escapes into the surrounding skin.

Plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet, and may be avoided by refraining from walking barefoot in public places.
Plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet, and may be avoided by refraining from walking barefoot in public places.

Over time, there is little or no pain as the area heals. A person can shower or participate in his or her usual activities. Sometimes a little difference in skin color is seen in the treated area, but there is generally no scarring. In a few cases, multiple treatments may be needed to freeze warts. Some warts can be treated at home with an acidic gel and sticky pad, which can minimize the number of treatments that might be required.

Freezing treatments can remove plantar warts, which tend to grow on the balls of the feet.
Freezing treatments can remove plantar warts, which tend to grow on the balls of the feet.

There are other ways of treating warts, such as laser surgery and even ointments that can be applied to the skin. It is important to consult with a physician before surgery to freeze warts. Freezing can be a good option in many cases, but depending on the wart, other treatments may be available. Surgery can sometimes be avoided when there is the need to get rid of a wart.

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Discussion Comments

anon988164

I just got mine burned off a couple of hours ago. It's the second time I've had to have it burned. The pain is unbelievable right now.

fify

@burcidi-- Yea, it hurts but just for a few days. I didn't have any pain after the second day. Mine healed super quick and I didn't get a scar so I'm happy.

burcidi

@ankara-- I had my warts frozen with liquid nitrogen too and it was so painful! It was painful during the treatment and even worse afterward.

The wart became very red and swollen after it thawed. It was very painful, I had to take a pain reliever tablet and apply a pain relieving cream on it.

Not just that but I had to go through this twice because the first treatment wasn't enough to remove the wart. It scabbed over but never fell off and so I had to have it frozen again.

bluedolphin

I had a wart on my hand treated with liquid nitrogen last month. It was so easy! The doctor numbed my skin so I didn't have any pain, it just felt very cold for a few seconds.

The wart scabbed over in a few days and fell off at the end of the week. I don't know if it's pain-less and easy for everyone but I didn't even have to take a pain reliever.

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    • Warts on a hand.
      Warts on a hand.
    • Warts can be removed using liquid nitrogen.
      Warts can be removed using liquid nitrogen.
    • Freezing warts with liquid nitrogen often causes blisters to form where the treatment was performed.
      Freezing warts with liquid nitrogen often causes blisters to form where the treatment was performed.
    • Plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet, and may be avoided by refraining from walking barefoot in public places.
      Plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet, and may be avoided by refraining from walking barefoot in public places.
    • Freezing treatments can remove plantar warts, which tend to grow on the balls of the feet.
      Freezing treatments can remove plantar warts, which tend to grow on the balls of the feet.