What Is It?
Warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a viral infection in
the top layer of the skin. They can appear anywhere on the skin but they are
most common on the hands and feet. Wart colors can range from skin-colored,
pink, brown and white. They appear as tiny, hard bumps with a rough surface
that may have a cauliflower texture. Some can also be dark, flat and smooth.
There are many different kinds of warts including:
- Common warts – usually grow around the nails, on the fingers and back of
- Foot warts – usually appear on soles of the feet and can be called plantar
- Flat warts – smaller and smoother than other warts that grow in great
- Genital warts (condyloma) – occur on the genitalia and anus
What Causes It?
Warts are tiny skin infections caused by viruses of the human papillomavirus
(HPV) family. The viruses that cause warts are passed from person to person,
sometimes indirectly. The risk of catching hand, foot and flat warts is small.
Genital warts are more contagious and sexually transmitted. Some people get
warts depending on how often they are exposed to the virus.
How To Remove Warts?
Several treatment options for warts exist. Common warts in young children can
be treated with a painless in-office topical medication called cantharone. A
new FDA approved version of this medicine is expected to be approved shortly
which will be even safer and more of a precise treatment than what we have had
up to this point. For adults and older children, the most effective treatment
is cryotherapy (freezing of the wart with liquid nitrogen). Vascular lasers,
such as the pulse dye laser, are commonly used to shrink the blood supply to
the wart and kill the virus. Electrosurgery (burning and scraping off the
wart) is also sometimes done in those that are stubborn to remove with some of
the other modalities. A new microwave treatment, known as the Swift Microwave
Therapy, is showing great promise for warts.