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Warts

What are Warts?

Warts are caused by several different types of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a double stranded DNA virus most commonly found in humans. Infection occurs when there is a break of skin allowing entry of the virus. The common medical term referring to warts is Verruca.


Types of Warts Commonly Seen

Verruca Vulgaris is the most common type of wart. It occurs most frequently in children and adolescents. Risks factors include visiting public swimming pools and using public showers. They are typically slow growing and increase in quantity.


Verruca Plana is another name for flat warts. These are most commonly found on sun-exposed areas in immunosuppressed patients, swimmers, and those who wash excessively. Luckily, this type of wart has the highest chance of spontaneous remission.


Verruca Plantaris’ are plantar warts found on the foot. They can be especially tender when the wart is located on a point of pressure. Verruca Plantaris is typically a large wart and/or grouped with other warts.


Treatments

Although warts may resolve on their own, it typically takes years for them to go away. They often affect one’s self esteem, get in the way of everyday activities, and may cause pain depending on the location. These factors lead individuals to seek treatment. It is important to understand that the treatment of warts is a timely process. Listed below are common treatments (but not limited to) that should be performed regularly (every 3 to 4 weeks) for the highest chance of remission.


Cryotherapy

For optimal results, the wart should be frozen in 2-3 cycles of 15 seconds. Ideally, this will produce a blister 1-2 days after treatment.


Intralesional Candida

The injection of a yeast antigen creates an immunologic attack against the wart.


Topical Salicylic Acid

Daily applications following 5-10 minutes of soaking in hot water; cover with strip bandage after application.


KMC Dermatology also uses other treatments such as topical cantharone, topical chemotherapy medications, and laser therapy. Laser therapy is reserved for warts that are unsuccessful with other treatments and/or are large in size. Laser therapies are performed in the office during a short visit with a provider.


Written by Ansley McKenna, APRN



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