Warts are skin growths, rougher to the touch then the surrounding skin, with irregular surface and most often colored as the surrounding skin. Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Warts can be darker in color, at the skin level or even smooth which depends on their type and localization on the patient’s body.
What kinds of warts are there?
We distinguish between several different types of warts:
- common (vulgar) warts
- thready warts
- flattened warts
- genital warts
- mosaic warts.
Where do warts usually occur?
Warts are most commonly found on the fingers of the hands and very often next to the nail and on the backs of the hands. Warts are more frequent if there is a habit of nail biting or some other way of inducing micro-injuries on the skin of the hands. Warts are found above the skin and often have black and dark spots on their surface (those are the endings of the blood vessels). On the feet, warts are located at the skin level because there is a pressure during walking.
Warts often appear in groups. Flattened warts are smaller then the common ones and are smooth to the touch. Flattened warts often appear in larger numbers at the same time. They can appear anywhere on the skin, and with children they are most common on the face. In grown men they are most common in the region of the chin, and in women at the feet.
How are warts transmitted?
Warts are transmitted in two ways – in direct and indirect contact. The incubation time very often lasts up to a few months. Patients with a weakened immune system are more prone to the infection.
Depending on the place of appearance, and the type of the HPV virus, several types of viral warts are differentiated…
Common warts can appear anywhere on the body but most often at the tip of the fingers, knees and feet. They are circular in shape, with firm and rough surface. Any damage of the skin can lead to the creation of new warts. Skin is especially susceptible to spreading of warts when it is soggy or after a mechanical peel.
They look like elongated, rough stakes which grow from one base. Places most characteristic for them are the eyes, mouth, neck and all the surfaces on the face.
Flattened warts are characteristic for the whole surface of the face. They must be removed at a far shallower depth then common warts. After removal it is necessary to receive local therapy in order for all the changes not to return.
They appear around the pubic region and on genitals. They are sexually transmitted and highly contagious. More about genital warts read here.
Feet warts – mosaic warts
Feet warts appear at the surface of the skin we are stepping on. They are pressured by the weight of the whole body and they can be very painful and disrupt normal walking. Patients often don’t differentiate them from clavus (corn), and therefore don’t contact a dermatologist in time. These warts commonly create mosaics or plates on the feet. They spread very fast and are treated very hard because they are set very deep. If the treatment begins in time they are a lot easier to cure.
Wart around nail plates and under them
These warts appear as hardening of the skin around the nail plate with unequal edges. They can damage the healthy nail growth and completely raise the nail plate. During the treatment it is very hard to choose a method after which there won’t be a permanent damage to the look of the nail.
Treatment and removal of warts
The choice of therapy for wart removal depends on the type of warts and on the age of patients.
There is a range of different therapies for wart treatment. Some of them are: liquid nitrogen treatment or cryosurgery, radio wave electrofluguration, laser removal, removal using preparations with salicylic acid, or applying cytostatics in the tissue of the wart only.
Our clinical experience shows that the most efficient way to remove the warts is by radio waves.
Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist