Warts are uninvited skin guests. While they are not typically dangerous, warts can be annoying. Several methods are available to serve ‘eviction notices’ to the unwelcome pests.
Warts are caused by different varieties of the human wart virus. Viral warts are different from the tan or brown velvety marks of maturity that develop naturally over a lifetime. There are several varieties of viral warts including types affecting hands and feet, other types affecting delicate skin and mucosal areas, and the smaller wart variety referred to as flat warts that may occur virtually anywhere. Warts can occur at any age and are common in children and young adults. Most warts eventually go away without treatment but many last a very long time.
Most warts eventually go away without treatment, but many last a very long time.
The two main wart treatment categories are mechanical destruction and destruction caused by immune system stimulation. In certain cases, wart removal may be very challenging due to the variability of response to wart treatment. Additionally, wart removal is not always necessary or desirable. Care must be taken to minimize or, preferably, avoid the physical or psychological scarring that may occur from wart removal procedures in certain situations.
Mechanical destruction of warts can be accomplished by freezing, blistering, physically removing, or burning. Immune system related removal can be attempted with oral cimetidine, and/or topical fluorouracil, imiquimod, and other compounds. Treatment customization is the key to best outcomes and patient satisfaction. The goal of wart treatment consultation is to help patients make an informed decision as to whether or not treatment is right for them. If treatment is desired, then the goal is to minimize side effect risks such as scarring and pain while maximizing the chance of a successful treatment result.