Wart Treatment Warts Treatment -
George Woodbury MD 2/24/2023
Warts – also called Verruca Vulgaris – are a common skin problem that brings patients to Dermatologists like myself – now with over 30 years with Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates, Memphis TN. Let’s take a look at what warts are, how we diagnose the condition of warts, and options for wart treatment.
A wart is actually a type of skin infection with a virus that a person picks up from another person who has a wart. The condition can also be called a type of skin HPV, for Human Papilloma Virus, which is the type of DNA virus that leads to warts. Other types of Papillomavirus lead to infections of the cervix, the entry area to the uterus, and can be implicated in the development of cervical cancer.
Many Dermatologists diagnose warts simply by visual inspection, though if we are unsure whether a given lesion is a wart, we often remove it under a shot of local anesthetic, such as a Lidocaine or Bupivacaine shot, to get the lesion diagnosed by the Dermatopathology Laboratory. This type of test is called a “wart excision,” which is a type of “skin biopsy.” It generally takes one week to several weeks to get the results back from the laboratory.
If a Dermatologic Surgeon like myself sees a lesion that appears to be a wart but suspects a type of Skin Cancer, called a Squamous Cell Skin Cancer, or a Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and the laboratory diagnoses the lesion as a Squamous Cell Skin Cancer, then further surgery may be needed, to help to ensure that the edges of the specimen sent into the laboratory are clear of cancer.
What are the types of HPV or the types of Warts?
The most common type of Wart is what’s called Verruca Vulgaris, or Verrucae Vulgares. These growths can occur on any part of the body, as raised bumps, especially common on the hands and feet, or the arms and legs. The virus can be spread through shaving, so that one wart can easily become five warts, or even ten warts.
Another common type of Wart is called a Plantar Wart, or Verruca Plantaris, meaning that the lesion occurs on the bottom of the hand or foot.
Another type of wart is one that develops beside the fingernail or toenail, making it into a “Periungual Wart.” Sometimes these periungual warts can grow underneath the toenail or fingernail, making them more difficult to treat, and at higher risk of growing back or ‘recurring.”
What populations are at higher risk of Warts?
Anyone can develop a Wart, but people with family members with Warts are definitely at higher risk of this infection. Furthermore, people who have close contact with other people, such as athletes, people living in dormitories, and people in prisons seem to be at higher risk, as well as people who are barefoot in communal showers or people who have sex with more than one sexual partner, possibly through increased skin-to-skin contact. I’ve certainly had many children coming for treatment of Warts who have been in ballet, TaeKwondo, karate, and kick boxing develop Warts, sometimes several.
What can be done for Wart Treatment?
The most common approach used by Dermatologists is what’s called Cryotherapy, application of liquid nitrogen, a very cold liquid that causes the wart or warts to blister, then to heal. This treatment often has to be done on more than one occasion.
Another Wart Treatment option used by the Dermatologic Surgeon is to cut out or “excise” the wart tissue, to get it evaluated by the laboratory. Even this treatment often has to be done more than once, because the wart tissue can sometimes grow back. Sometimes we cut out the wart – particularly deep or thick warts – then follow-up with a cryotherapy treatment several weeks later. Dermatologists often prefer to use cryotherapy first, because it often has a lower risk of leaving a scar.
Nonsurgical options include prescription imiquimod cream, prescription Condylox Gel (podophyllotoxin), over-the-counter salicylic acid products (such as Wart Off or Compound W), and prescription Tretinoin Cream or Gel (Retin A Cream or Gel). Sometimes we use a series of injections with interferon, or even a series of injections with Candida Antigen. And some Dermatologists use different types of laser therapy or laser treatments for Warts.
Be aware that I am also President of Big River Silk™ Skincare, an organic skincare company that distributes a helpful deep cleanser that’s helpful in keeping the skin healthy: AmberSoy™ Soap Gel. We also manufacture and distribute a best skin cream moisturizer (HypoShea Moisturizer Cream and HypoShea Oil). Check us out at https://www.Bigriversilkskincare.com.
So if you or a family member or friend, has a suspicious lesion, or any type of growth that may be a Wart of Verruca, consider seeing a “Dermatologist Near Me.” My own Memphis Dermatology practice since 1993 has been with Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates, 8143 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova TN 38018 (1-901-753-0168). Or you can find a Dermatologist closer to you by going to the American Academy of Dermatology web site, www.AAD.org, then plugging your zip code into the “Find a Dermatologist” tab. Don’t delay. Get examined today!
George Woodbury, Jr., M.D.