Laser surgery may be done
in a doctor's office or clinic, a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center.
Local or general anesthetic may be used depending on
the number of warts to be removed or the size of the area to be treated.
Check out the first two words of "sexually transmitted diseases." If you're
having sex, you may be at risk.
Do you know as much as you think you do about STDs? It's easy to find out. Read through the list of
symptoms below, then name that STD.
For women, abnormal cervical cell changes caused by HPV will be treated
differently than genital warts caused by HPV. Your doctor may recommend certain
types of surgery, such as laser surgery. For more information about surgical
methods to treat abnormal cell changes, see the topic
Abnormal Pap Test.
What To Expect After Surgery
Recovery time depends on the location
and number of warts removed. Healing usually occurs within 2 to 4 weeks.
For men and women who have had laser surgery, call
your doctor if you have any of the following:
Bleeding that lasts longer than 1
yellowish discharge, which may point to an infection
Avoid sexual intercourse until the treated area heals and
the soreness is gone (usually 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the size of the area
Why It Is Done
Laser surgery may be done
Medicine has failed, and the warts need to be removed.
Warts are widespread.
Warts need to
be treated during pregnancy. Your doctor will recommend when treatment should
be done during pregnancy.
How Well It Works
In studies, laser surgery removed
warts in about 40 out of 100 people. But warts may return after surgery.1
Laser surgery is a safe treatment for pregnant
Laser surgery may cause any of the
Pain, swelling, or
Discharge from the vagina or penis
Sores in the
Tissue that sticks together
Urination that occurs in a wide, spraying stream, for
treatment done in the
urethra. Scarring of the penis is a possible side
effect that can result in problems with urination or
What To Think About
Doctors usually use laser surgery
for genital warts after other treatments have failed. Laser surgery for the
treatment of genital warts is more expensive than many other treatment
There are concerns that laser treatment may increase the
risk of having warts return by destroying the local immune system, allowing
inactive viruses to become active.
Laser surgery requires
specialized training and equipment. Some experts believe that the skill of the
doctor performing the laser surgery affects surgical success. People
thinking about laser surgery for genital warts should ask the doctor how many
times he or she has done this procedure and about his or her success
Warts that are difficult to treat may be managed by adding
other treatments, such as fluorouracil. Genital warts may be treated with
fluorouracil before or after laser surgery.
If used before surgery, fluorouracil reduces
the size and number of warts requiring laser treatment.
after surgery, fluorouracil may prevent genital warts from returning.
An advantage of laser surgery is that adjacent and deep
tissue is not damaged during laser treatment.
warts may not cure a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The virus may remain
in the body in an inactive state after warts are removed. A person treated for
genital warts may still be able to spread the infection. Condoms may help
reduce the risk of HPV infection.
The benefits and effectiveness
of each type of treatment need to be compared with the side effects and cost.
Discuss this with your doctor.
Bonnez W, Reichman RC (2005).
Papillomaviruses. In GL Mandell et al., eds., Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 6th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1841-1856.
Philadelphia: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
June 28, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 28, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this