Wart Removal in Washington, DC
Two main types of warts affect human skin. Human papilloma virus (HPV) accounts for the majority of wart infections. There are more than 70 types of HPV and they can occur anywhere on the body. Warts are named by their location (i.e. “plantar” is the bottom of the foot, and “genital” is on or near the genital areas). Although warts are contagious, the virus is so ubiquitous that it is usually not reasonable or possible to pinpoint the source of infection, except in cases of genital warts as certain strains of genital wart virus can predispose to cervical cancer.
Warts often regress spontaneously, but this process can be slow. If a wart is painful or unsightly, professional treatment by a board certified dermatologist is recommended. The most common treatment employed for wart removal are liquid nitrogen cryotherapy (freezing), however for warts resistant to this treatment we also offer laser wart removal which is described below. It is important to realize that no destructive modality is perfect and several treatments may be needed. Additionally, wart destruction may result in white spots or scarring, although these are infrequent complications.
Liquid Nitrogen Cryotherapy
This is the most common wart treatment procedure. Liquid nitrogen vapor is sprayed onto the wart and surrounding area. Causing the freezing and subsequent thawing of the wart and a small area of surrounding skin. This is commonly repeated once or twice during each session. Over the following days the area treated normally develops a blister which takes part of the wart with it when it falls off. Small warts may only require a single treatment, however larger warts and plantar warts on the palms and soles can require multiple treatments spaced about a month apart.
Laser Wart Removal
We are one of the few providers who offer laser wart removal in Washington, DC. For stubborn warts resistant to traditional therapies, the most commonly used laser for wart removal is the Pulsed Dye Laser. These lasers target the dilated blood vessels at the base of the wart and can eliminate the blood supply to the wart causing it to regress. They also deliver heat energy to the wart denaturing the viral DNA hindering the warts ability to live and grow.
Please note that most insurance companies do not cover laser wart removal, and full payment will be collected at time of service. Multiple treatments may be required and no guarantee can be offered as to efficacy.
Another type of wart virus (a pox virus) causes molluscum contagiosum. These are small, dome shaped bumps seen most commonly in children and young adults. They should be considered an annoyance because they are so common and do not lead to further disease. While molluscum will usually regress and disappear without treatment over several months, if treatment is desired either liquid nitrogen cryotherapy or cantharone (blistering agent) may be utilized.
Warts, then, are common and, in most cases, benign. Understanding the significance of an infection and the options for therapy is essential in dealing with this problem.