Photos.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Caused by the human papilloma virus, warts can appear anywhere on the skin, at any time. These unwanted growths carry no risk of cancer, but can spread rapidly from one area of the body to another and from person to person. Cryotherapy, or freezing is a common wart removal method.


While warts themselves do not generally cause pain, the act of freezing them can be quite painful. Cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart. Though this procedure can be completed in just a few minutes at your doctor's office, complete removal of a wart usually requires several painful cryotherapy sessions. Anesthesia may be used for patients who find the process particularly painful. Warts are usually removed after four sessions, with at least one week between sessions. Pain often lasts up to three days after each session, according to WebMD.


Cryotherapy does not immediately remove warts. Instead, it causes a large painful blister to form around the wart, which will eventually divide the wart from your skin, allowing it to fall off on its own. The blister that forms can be painful and, depending upon its location, may hamper your daily activities. In addition, if the blister breaks, it can release fluid that will spread the wart-causing virus to other areas of your body. Applying ice may help reduce swelling of the blister.

Infection and Permanent Damage

Warts that are treated with cryotherapy may become infected. Signs of infection may include intense pain and swelling. The area around the wart or blister may feel hot to the touch. Red lines near the wart area may indicate infection. An infection may also cause pus or a fever. Freezing a wart can cause permanent damage. Repeated use of cryotherapy may cause permanent damage to the nerves around the area of the wart. Scarring, though rare, may occur. If the wart is located on a finger or toe, the freezing may cause permanent damage to the nail bed, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Other Removal Methods

Several at-home methods exist for removing warts, including ointments and bandaging options. Ointments containing salicylic acid may be applied to the wart; this method usually requires several applications, and can be done using an at-home kit or in your doctor's office. Complicated wart removal issues may require surgery.