Harwer M.D. Partners in Health

Laser Treatment of Warts & Verrucas


Warts are local skin growths caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection. Although they are considered contagious it is very common for just one family member to have them. They often affect just one part of the body (such as the hands or the feet) without spreading to other areas. Warts are clusters or clumps of skin cells that exhibit abnormal growth due to virus infection. Verrucas (plantar warts) are another type wart that usually grows on the soles of your feet. Warts also frequently spring up on skin areas that are more likely to be damaged such as fingers, elbows, knees and the face. HPV virus causes genital warts in sexually active patients. 98% of cervical cancers (discovered by abnormal Pap smear) are caused by this virus. Up to one in ten people will experience a wart at some time of their life, usually during childhood or adolescence. Warts and viruses are usually harmless and many times will go away with time. They vary in appearance, ranging in size from 1mm to 10mm. People with a weakened immune system and those taking medicines that suppress the immune system are more likely to develop warts and viruses. The following are some common examples of different types of warts.

An image showing a person with common warts on the index finger, near the cuticle Picture of Warts

Common wart (veruca vulgaris)

Common warts are firm, raised growths with a rough surface which usually look like a small cauliflower. They occur most frequently on the back of your hands, fingers, toes and on your knees.

Post-operative care is minimal

Immediately after the laser treatment, a small, attrition - like wound appears in the treated area. Soon a small scab will form. The Erbium YSGG Laser causes a superficial wound to the skin that takes 7 to 10 days to heal. Your physician will discuss with you in detail the most appropriate wound care for your procedure, and she may ask you to use special post-laser ointment for short period of time. The treated area will be sensitive to the sun for some months and you should use a sunscreen of SPF 30 for about 6 months.

An image showing a close-up of a verruca with small black dots in the centre, surrounded by hard skin

Veruca plana (plantar wart)

Viruses are usually found on the soles of your feet. They may have dark spots in the center or throughout, and may cause pain when you step on them.

before wart removal 2 days after wart removal 30 days after wart removal

Plane wart (veruca plana)

Flat (plane) warts are round, smooth and flat growths often slightly brown in color. They are common on your face legs, and other parts of the body, often in large numbers.

Mosaic warts

These are usually a number of verrucas packed together in a small area, often located on your hands and feet.

Filiform warts

These are long and slender growths commonly found on your face and neck Filiform warts typically appear as a single long stalk.

Periungual warts

Periungual warts are warts that are found around or under the nails.

Genital warts

Genital warts are located on the genitals and are transmitted by sexual contact. They are a form of a STD (sexually transmitted disease), and are usually caused by large number of different types of HPV. Recently a new vaccine became available to protect young adults against this serious disease that can result in cervical cancer.

Laser treatment of warts

Laser treatment of warts or verrucas is a very effective alternative to traditional treatments and is particularly suitable for large or widespread warts and verrucas that have failed to respond to traditional treatments. In most cases warts and veruccae that are treated with lasers are permanently removed after one procedure.

Nd:YAG 1064 Laser for non ablative treatments

Nd:YAG 1064 laser light will destroy the blood supply to the wart or verruca without causing damage to the surrounding tissue. The laser energy heats up the wart, sealing its blood supply and kill the viral infection so the wart can no longer survive. If all of the blood supply is not killed, further treatment will be needed to ensure that the growth is killed. One to three treatment course may be recommended in weekly interval. Alternatively an Er:YAG laser can be used to gently remove the wart layer by layer.




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