How many laser wart removal treatments are necessary to remove my wart?It will take 5 to 15 treatments to treat your wart.
What is a wart?A wart is a benign growth of epidermal cells caused by infection with certain types of human papillomaviruses (HPV). Warts typically have a verrucous or "warty" appearance, but some are flat. Warts are common in children and young adults, often appearing on areas that are frequently traumatized, such as fingers, toes, knees, and elbows. Sexually active adults may have genital warts, which are caused by a different strain of the human papillomavirus. There are a number of varieties of warts that can be distinguished based on physical exam.
Common wart (verruca vulgaris). The common wart is a skin-colored "warty" papule. They commonly occur on the hands and fingers. Flat wart. A flat wart is a minimally raised, flesh-colored, reddish or brown papule. They are often found on the face and hands, with multiple lesions often being present.
Plantar wart. Plantar warts are dense thick lesions that occur on the plantar (bottom) aspect of the foot. They are often painful.
Condyloma acuminatum. These are genital, or venereal, warts. They affect the external genitalia, perineal region, inguinal folds, and sometimes the vagina or urethra. Lesions appear as fleshy moist papules.
With what can a wart be confused?A common wart is usually easily diagnosed based on clinical appearance. It can resemble a corn or callus. A persistent non-healing "wart may mask squamous cell carcinoma. A flat wart, when reddish, can occasionally be confused with the purple lesions of lichen planus. Plantar warts can easily be confused with a corn or callus. Condyloma acuminatum, genital warts, must be distinguished from condyloma lata (a lesion of secondary syphilis), and from squamous cell carcinoma and bowenoid papulosis (a form of in situ squamous cell carcinoma).
How is a wart diagnosed?Most warts are diagnosed clinically; biopsy is usually not required.
How is a wart treated?The treatment for a wart is physical, chemical or biological destruction of the infected epidermal cells of the lesion. The most commonly employed destructive modalities are cryosurgery with liquid nitrogen, electrodessication and curretage, surgical excision, and laser ablation. Chemical agents can be applied by a doctor in the office or by the patient at home. Common warts can be treated with salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and cantharidin. Plantar warts are often treated with salicylic acid. Condyloma acuminatum can be treated podofilox, which is available for home use as Condylox. Flat warts often respond to retinoids, such as tretinoin, tazorac or adapalene. Resistant warts may respond to the chemotheraputic agent bleomycin, interferon, or 5-flurouracil, either topically or intralesionally (or very rarely systemically). Biological approaches stimulate a host immune response to the viral infection and eradication of the infected cells. Imiquimod (Aldara) is the agent most commonly used in this fashion. Oral Cimetidine is also sometimes used. Elicitation of contact dermatitis by other means, such as poison ivy resin, is also used. Laser destruction, often with a laser that targets the wart's blood supply, is a commonly used treatment.
What is the prognosis for a wart?Probably the majority of warts regress spontaneously within two years, and approximately 80% can be cured with treatment. Scarring may occur as a result of physical destruction or surgical excision.
Certain strains of HPV are linked to the development of cervical cancer, but these are not the strains that cause skin warts; there is now a vaccine available for the prevention of infection with certain strains of HPV.
Which laser do you use to treat warts?We use the pulsed dye laser (VBeam). This destroys the blood supply of the wart.
How many treatments are required to cure my wart?This depends on they type of wart. Some warts resolve after one treatement, others may require multiple sessions. Typically 2 to 3 sessions are required.