Warts are benign skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). You are more likely to get one of these viruses if you cut or damage your skin in some way.
Warts also are more common on parts of the body that people shave. You can spread warts from one place on your body to another.
Warts often go away without treatment. This is especially true in children, while warts in adults may be more persistent. Although most warts are harmless, Dr. Kittridge offers several different types. The treatment used depends on numerous factors.
Some treatments include:
- Compounded topical medications: Home topical treatments often used as the first line of therapy and in conjunction with other in-office treatments.
- Cryotherapy: For common warts in adults and older children, cryotherapy (freezing) is the most common treatment. This treatment is not too painful. It can cause pigment changes in the areas treated. It is common to need repeat treatments.
- Electrosurgery and curettage: Electrosurgery (burning) is a good treatment for common warts, filiform warts, and foot warts. Curettage involves scraping off (curetting) the wart with a sharp knife or small, spoon-shaped tool. These two procedures often are used together. The dermatologist may remove the wart by scraping it off before or after electrosurgery.
- Laser treatment: Laser treatment is an option, mainly for warts that have not responded to other therapies. Before laser treatment, the dermatologist may numb the wart with an anesthetic injection (shot).
- Immunotherapy: This treatment uses the patient’s own immune system to fight the warts. This treatment is used when the warts remain despite other treatments. One type of immunotherapy involves applying a chemical, such as diphencyprone (DCP), to the warts. Another type of immunotherapy often used includes Candida antigen injections. A controlled allergic reaction occurs around the treated warts. This reaction may cause the warts to go away.