Silver Nitrate Sticks in Dermatology: Guidelines for use

Silver nitrate sticks are a good option in dermatology to treat skin wounds and remove unwanted tissues like warts, skin tags, aphthous ulcers, canker sores, and overproduction of granulation tissue. Its antimicrobial properties lower the risk of infections, however, if not used with proper guidelines it can burn your skin or leave a scar. That’s why you take this treatment from a professional dermatologist to lower the risks. If you notice changes in the appearance of your skin, you can consult the best dermatologist in East New York. Please contact Doral Health and Wellness Dermatology Center.



Guidelines for use

Silver nitrate sticks are an effective treatment option which is made up of wooden sticks with 75% silver nitrate and 25% potassium nitrate on the tip. While it is greatly beneficial in terms of boosting clotting of the wound, not using it with caution can be harmful as well. That’s why when using silver nitrate sticks follow proper guidelines to prevent its risks and side effects. It includes:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before starting treatment with silver nitrate sticks. Wear nitrile gloves.
  • Prepare the wound site by removing the wound dressing and cleaning the wound with a sterile saline solution or an approved wound cleanser. After cleansing, remove any excess moisture from the treatment site.
  • The treated area should be isolated, and the surrounding tissue should be protected with the application of a barrier such as petroleum jelly.
  • In case there is still moisture at the treatment site, then the stick should be dry; otherwise, the tip needs to be moistened with sterile distilled or de-ionized water.
  • Don’t use saline solution to moisten the tip of the stick because it may decrease the effectiveness of the silver nitrate.
  • The stick should be applied gently in a rolling motion on the wound. 2 minutes is usually sufficient; however, it can vary depending on the case.
  • The time of tip contact with the tissue determines the degree of the resulting caustic action. When silver nitrate sticks are used for cauterization, it is necessary to apply some pressure during treatment.
  • The patient needs to be monitored carefully during the procedure, and treatment should be stopped if the burning sensation is too strong.
  • After the procedure, use damp saline gauze to clean the treatment area gently, by patting dry to reduce the trauma on surrounding tissue.
  • Once you remove the gloves, apply an appropriate wound dressing on the wound and throw the gloves. Use a new pair of gloves next time.
  • Depending on the procedure, a wound dressing may support hemostasis or stimulate a low-moist wound environment.
  • The frequency of silver nitrate treatment depends on the wound’s needs. In some cases, cauterization to control bleeding one time with this treatment is enough. However, in treating hyper granulation tissue or epibole, the procedure may need to be repeated daily to 3 times a week depending on the result.

If you want to know more about silver nitrate sticks or need help with a wound, visit our dermatology clinic in Brooklyn to get professional medical treatment. Call us to book your appointment today. At Doral Health and Wellness Dermatology Center, we have the best dermatologists that can help you take care of your skin. As dermatology experts in East New York, we are dedicated to providing the best services. You can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York to schedule an appointment. You can also call us at 1-347-384-5690 or visit our website at