What are Warts
Verruca or warts are benign, non-cancerous, skin colored growths that affect men, women and children of all ages. They most commonly affect the hands.
Causes of Warts
Warts are contagious and caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). To become infected, direct or indirect contact with the virus is needed and warts may appear 2-6 months afterward. Warts can spread easily if you cut or damage your skin in some way such as nail biting, shaving or open wounds.
Types of Warts
The appearance of a wart depends on the location. The most common types of warts are:
- COMMON WARTS (VERRUCA VULGARIS): small, rough warts that may have black dots representing clotted blood vessels. These typically occur around the fingernails and on the backs of hands
- PLANTAR WARTS: affect the bottom of the feet and may be very painful when walking
- FLAT WARTS: smaller, smoother warts that typically appear in greater numbers on the face and legs
- GENITAL WARTS (CONDYLOMATA ACUMINATA): usually sexually transmitted and may be rough or smooth, flesh-colored warts on the genitals, inside the vagina, or around the anus.
In children, warts can disappear on their own without treatment over several months to years. However, warts that are annoying, painful, or quickly spreading should be treated. In adults, warts do not disappear as rapidly or easily and usually requires treatment. The type of warts and your age may determine the most appropriate method of wart removal.
- Cryotherapy: liquid nitrogen is used in the office to freeze the wart
- Cantharidin: is a medicine extracted from blister beetles. It is painlessly applied in the office and causes a blister to form under the wart
- Debulking: clipping or shaving away the dead part of the wart week(s) after cantharidin or cryotherapy is used, before re-treat the remaining wart if necessary
- Curettage and Desiccation: which scrape away the growth and uses electricity to burn the virus
- Surgical Removal: effective for deep or large warts
- Topical prescriptions: salicylic acid, topical chemotherapy or retinoids – not as quick and may not be as effective as other methods for wart removal