Wart / and mole removal
Warts are growths found on the surface of the skin. Warts have been considered ‘ugly’ for centuries, however warts simply grow when excess layers of skin form small, rough areas on the skin. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is behind the skin’s changes, however warts are not considered as a threat to general health and can easily remain untreated.
However, warts can impact self-esteem and they can appear in inconvenient places, such as hands fingers or arms. These warts can affect people’s day to day comfort, catching on clothing and jewellery and causing pain and distress. While they most commonly appear on the hands, feet and face, warts can appear everywhere and there are many, many different types. For example, warts that grow on the feet are better known as Verrucas. Caused by the same HP Virus as warts, verrucas can often be picked up when people are in and around showers area and swimming pools, spreading easily in the damp and humid conditions. Both warts and verrucas are contagious between people and on your own body. Touching a wart on one part of your body can see growths subsequently occur in other areas of your body, as you transfer the virus.
Warts are very common, with 10% of the population prone to a wart at some stage of their lives. Warts can often strike during childhood or in the teenage years. As well as spreading in warm, wet shared spaces, both warts and verrucas can spread through direct skin contact.
Warts can appear very different to each other. Some warts are bump-like growths that are only slightly raised from the skin, whereas other warts are considerable growths that can stretch across a few centimetres in diameter. Other warts can become uncomfortable and unwieldy because of their height, catching on clothing, watches and other jewellery.
There are many different types of wart, however they can be removed quickly and effectively. There are several treatment options for wart removal.
Wart removal techniques
Cryotherapy is a treatment using extremely low or freezing temperatures. Cryotherapy treatment removes warts and other skin conditions, such as skin tags, by literally freezing them off the skin’s surface to remove them. There is more than one way to utilisecryotherapy, however the most common method involves the use of liquid nitrogen.
Liquid nitrogen is nitrogen which is in a liquid state when it is at a low temperature. The low temperature is extremely cold – around −196 °C or −320 °F. Nitrogen, when warmer, can also be found in its gaseous state and makes up over 75% of the air around us. When extremely cold, nitrogen takes up a liquid state and requires special storage and transportation in speciallydesigned and manufactured chemical flasks.
How cryotherapy is used on the skin
Cryotherapy is used in the treatment of many skin conditions, with the extremely low temperatures being used in a targeted way to ‘burn’ off warts, skin tags and other legions. Primarily used to treat benign skin conditions, cryotherapy is used in the removal of viral warts, sun-damaged skin patches – known as actinic keratoses, and other non-serious skin lesions. There are other skin conditions, associated with skin cancers, that are treated with cryotherapy. These include Bowen’s disease, superficial cell carcinoma and some forms of non-melanoma skin cancers.
What happens during Cryotherapy treatment?
A Cryotherapy treatment, or procedure, takes place during a set appointment time. No clinical admission is required and the patient can be treated during a consultation. No specialist preparation is necessary and the consultation and treatment can be undertaken by a clinician or a nurse.
During a cryotherapy treatment, liquid nitrogen is applied to the lesion or skin condition with a tool that enables targeted precision. These tools can include a metal gun or probe, but can also include a pen-like device for smaller areas. There are occasions when a cotton bud will be used to apply the liquid nitrogen, but it will depend on the area requiring treatment and the size of the lesion.
The actual treatment time is completed in seconds and can be done without any need for local anaesthetic. Treatment times may vary depending on the width and height of the lesion – in this case warts – but it is over momentarily.
Following the cryotherapy treatment, the skin will become white and frozen. It will then take a few moments for the skin to return to normal skin temperature. When the skin has returned to the correct, normal skin temperature, the clinician or nurse will assess the impact of the treatment and decide whether further freezing is required or whether on single application will suffice. If the process does need to be repeated, it will be done immediately after the initial process.
Following cryotherapy treatment, a scab will form over the treatment area. This will heal, as with a normal scab, and return to normal within two weeks. This may take a little longer on treatments that have taken place on the legs, but it will return to normal relatively quickly. Once the scab comes away, the skin underneath will return to its normal appearance in most cases. Sometimes – and especially with treatments on the legs – there may be some scarring or discoloration.
Every wart is different. Most warts can be totally removed in one single session, while others may require further treatment. You will be able to discuss this with your clinician following your initial treatment consultation.
Your clinician will prescribe you a course of cryotherapy after care. This will most likely be a non-medical process and will require you to take care of the treated area by keeping it dry until a scab forms. You may be advised to apply a moisturiser, in the form of petroleum jelly. If a scab becomes wet, it should be patted dry gently with a soft tissue. Please do not rub or be abrasive with the area of treatment.
To ensure that you prevent against scarring as much as possible, it is critical that you do not try to pick the scab or rub at it. Not only will this be more likely to result in scarring, but it would greatly increase your chances of infection.
It is not usual to require a plaster or a dressing, however some treatment areas may benefit from the added protection if they are in an area that might rub on another part of the body or clothing.