Warts are mostly small, rough skin lesions which often look similar to a blister, and are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can appear anywhere on the body, but are more common on the hands and feet. Warts are highly contagious and there is a risk of the warts spreading to other parts of the body especially if they are irritated or scratched.
Depending on the type (common, plantar, flat, filiform, and genital) and location of the wart, there are different treatment options available to remove them. Liquid nitrogen can help the wart to blister and scab, which ultimately eliminates the wart. These types of treatments can sometimes be uncomfortable and often require 2-3 treatments with variable success. Typically, patients who show little to no response to liquid nitrogen therapy, will then have intralesional immunotherapy and PDL (Pulsed Dye Laser). Immunotherapy involves injecting the wart with an antigen (usually Candida) to promote the creation of antibodies that target and destroy the HPV virus. PDL works by killing off the blood and oxygen supply, which slowly kills the wart. In combination, both procedures work well in removing most warts, and treatments are spaced every 4-6 weeks apart.
For larger warts on the hands or feet (plantar), CO2 laser can be used. This type of treatment is more aggressive but offers a higher success rate and includes some post-procedure pain, and up to 12 weeks of healing time. No treatment option offers a 100% guaranteed success rate, since warts can sometimes return if the immune system becomes compromised. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent the spread of warts by avoiding direct skin to skin contact especially when the wart virus is active.