Wart removal is a process of removing the wart tissue from the surface of the skin. Warts usually appear under the influence of a virus and rarely from a genetic predisposition. Intervention should be performed as soon as a wart is spotted since warts are usually contagious and can spread to other parts of the body and loved ones.
There are a few possible ways to remove warts:
Removing warts with radio waves
Removing warts with radio waves is the most efficient way to remove warts from the skin or mucous tissue. The intervention is performed under local anesthesia. Anesthesia be applied as a cream (EMLA, which is applied on the skin one hour before the intervention) or with a needle of the smallest diameter, where Lidocaine 2% is injected directly into the area where the wart is. The first form of anesthesia is suitable for small changes on the face, neck and genitals. When a wart is on the feet, hands or if it is over 5 mm in size, an anesthesia with a needle is necessary for the intervention to be painless. After anesthesia, radio waves are used to go over the surface of the wart, which makes it evaporate. Curettage is needed only on the hands and feet after the radio waves in order to be sure that the root of the wart is removed.
This sort of intervention leaves a dry scab and sometimes a dent in the skin. A week or two after that the scab rises, fills in the dent and after falling off it leaves young skin which is leveled with the surroundings. If the change was larger than 5 mm, somewhat lighter skin can remain in the area where the change was removed.
After removal of warts in this manner, it is desirable to treat area only with antibiotic powder.
Removing warts with liquid nitrogen
Removal with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) is an intervention which involves the freezing of the wart tissue. In this way a hematoma is formed under the wart and then a scab which makes the wart fall off. A drawback in this procedure is in its imprecision and in an increased number of visits to the doctor that a patient must commit to. Also, a drawback of this method is that by damaging the surrounding tissue by spraying liquid nitrogen on it, the virus can spread on the surroundings of the skin. It is impossible to assess the depth of skin freezing so there is a great possibility that after a few months in the same place a wart will appear. This is a method of choice for HIV positive patients because there are no vapors.
Laser removal of warts
Laser removal is a method which uses a laser beam, and the principle of heating and evaporating the wart is the same as in radio wave removal, as is the anesthesia. Healing is somewhat longer than in other methods considering the fact that the skin is damaged more during the intervention.
Removal using mixtures with salicylic acid
Mixtures with salicylic acid are a method which slowly peels the tissue. This therapy is indicated only for warts that are superficial.
Removing warts with cytostatic mixtures
Applying cytostatic mixtures in the very tissue of the wart. It is a completely safe method, without forming a wound at the place of a wart. It demands two to five treatments once a month.
Using creams to remove warts
Imiquimod 5% (Aldara) cream or Podophyllotoxin cream are mixtures that cause irritation and immunological reaction when applied and that leads to withdrawal of warts. Methods are expensive (Aldara) and long term with the largest percent of virus recurrence.
Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade – Serbia