Warts are small, rough, raised growths that appear on the skin. Warts are usually harmless and are caused by HPV, or the Human Papillomavirus. However, in some cases, they may cause pain and can be considered unsightly. Doctors can treat some warts with over-the-counter creams, cryotherapy (freezing), surgical removal, and other methods.
There are a variety of different warts. Common warts are small, raised growths that appear on the back of hands, fingers, and nails. Plantar warts are found on the soles of the feet, often causing pain when walking or standing. Filiform warts are long, narrow growths that appear on the face near the mouth, nose, and eyes. Periungual warts grow around or under the nails. Flat warts are often found on the face, legs, and arms and are smooth, flat-topped growths. Genital warts are found in the genital areas, anus, or mouth and are soft and flesh colored.
As stated previously, warts are generally not dangerous, but in unusual cases may become cancerous. People suffering from genital warts are more likely to experience this. If your wart becomes painful or if you are concerned about a wart, it is important to seek medical advice. It is important to note that not all skin growths are warts and therefore you should visit a professional to help you determine the best course of treatment for your case.
When should I be concerned about a wart?
- If the wart interferes with normal daily activities or becomes painful.
- If the wart is growing larger, bleeding, or changing color or its general appearance.
- If the wart is in an area that is exposed to excessive friction or pressure. Examples of these areas include the feet or palms of your hands.
- Warts in the genital areas can be a sign of genital warts. This can be caused by a sexually transmitted virus and may lead to more serious help problems and therefore should be checked out by a professional.
- If the wart is not responding to over-the-counter treatments over several weeks.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. A dermatologist can provide you with a plan of action or ease concerns related to the wart. Dermatologists can remove warts using a variety of methods.
What are common methods of removal?
This method of removal involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen. This medical treatment involves the use of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue from the skin. The tissue freezes and eventually dies, which in turn causes the dead tissue to fall off over several weeks. Cryotherapy is a quick, non-invasive, and relatively painless procedure.
There are a variety of topical treatments available to remove warts including salicylic acid, Imiquimod, Podofilox, and Cantharidin. The choice of topical treatments depends on the type and location of the wart, as well as the patient’s preferences. It is important to follow your dermatologist’s instructions and any medication as directed.
This is a procedure in which your dermatologist cuts out your wart with a scalpel or scissors. Anesthesia is used to numb the area surrounding the wart making this treatment relatively painless. After removal, the wound is stitched and covered with a bandage. This type of wart treatment is typically used for larger warts or ones that have not responded to other treatments. In comparison to other methods, surgical excision is more invasive but can be effective in providing a cure by removing the wart completely. Patients are often able to return to normal life activities within a few days to a week. However, every patient’s case varies.
This procedure uses a laser to destroy a wart. The beam delivers intense heat to the wart and destroys any abnormal tissue. Like the surgical excision method, this procedure is done under local anesthesia alleviating the patient’s pain. Laser therapy has been successful in removing warts, while also being minimally invasive, quick, and leaving very little scarring. Depending on the nature and location of your wart, it may require several visits to achieve complete removal. This method is typically more expensive than other alternatives.
If you have warts, it is recommended to visit a dermatologist for proper evaluation and treatment. A professional can examine the wart, determine the best course of treatment, and provide you with safe and effective options to remove them.
Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gurgen if you have warts or any other skin concerns. Our office can help you get the care you need to keep your skin healthy and clear!