Warts are viral, raised, hardened nodules that vary in size and shape. Warts are mildly contagious and are likely spread by contact with damp surfaces (such as bathtubs, swimming pools, and gym floors). They are very common in school age children and are generally not a reflection of poor hygiene (or of a weak immune system). There are two common types:
- Flat warts: occur on the hands, arms, knees, and cheeks.
- Plantar warts: occur on the feet and toes.
Warts are self-limiting in nature – that is, if left untreated, they will disappear by themselves. This process generally lasts for a few months, but it may take years for them to completely resolve. There is no medical reason that warts must be treated, however when they are painful to the child, spreading, or especially aesthetically displeasing, treatment may be beneficial.
All procedures for treating warts involves irritating the underlying skin. This causes a localized immune response which “eats” up the virus and leads to the wart’s resolution. Before coming to the office to have the wart frozen, there are numerous over-the-counter wart removal kits which are often effective. In addition, duct tape has been found to eliminate warts in many instances (see Duct Tape Protocol below).
If, after trying over-the-counter wart removal agents or duct tape, there has been no improvement within four weeks, such remedies are unlikely to be successful. At this point, in-office freezing becomes an option. Freezing a wart is a moderately painful procedure that is often successful in eradicating the wart. Occasionally a second treatment 2-4 weeks later is required.PLEASE NOTE: WART REMOVAL WILL NOT BE PERFORMED ON ANY PATIENT WHO DOES NOT AGREE TO THE PROCEDURE. WE WILL NOT RESTRAIN PATIENTS. THE TREATMENT WILL BE DISCONTINUED AT THE PATIENT’S REQUEST.
- Cut a piece of duct tape the size of the wart and apply it to the wart for six days and nights. If the tape falls off, cut a new piece and replace it.
- On the seventh day, remove the tape. Soak the wart in warm water for ten minutes. Use a pumice stone or an emory board to roughen the wart and remove as much of the dead skin as possible.
- Leave the duct tape off overnight. Reapply a new piece in the morning for another six days.
- Repeat this procedure for three to four weeks. If the wart persists and you wish to pursue further treatment, call our office to make an appointment to have the wart frozen.