If home treatment, cryotherapy, or
medicine does not eliminate your wart, your doctor may try to surgically remove
the wart. Options include:
Electrosurgery and curettage.
Electrosurgery is burning the wart with an electrical current. Curettage is
cutting the wart off with a sharp knife or a small, spoon-shaped tool. The two
procedures are often used together.
which is burning the wart off with an intense beam of light.
For electrosurgery, curettage, and laser surgery, a
local anesthetic is used to numb the skin before the
What To Think About
Nonprescription salicylic acid
is as effective as or more effective than other treatments, with minimal risk
Other treatment options
include the medicines 5-fluorouracil and cimetidine and using light or lasers
Factors to consider before treatment
Cost. Home treatment
is often as effective as treatment by a doctor and costs less. But home
treatment may take longer. Less expensive home treatments include tape
occlusion or nonprescription salicylic acid.
Ability to tolerate pain. Quicker but more painful methods
include some topical medicines (such as cantharidin) or cryotherapy. You may
want to pick a slower, less painful method of wart removal. These methods
include tape occlusion and salicylic acid treatments.
Potential for scarring. Scarring is the most important thing
to think about when choosing a wart treatment. Scarring from treatment may be
permanent and can be as painful as the wart itself. The bottom of the foot is
especially sensitive, a consideration in the case of plantar warts. Scarring is
also a cosmetic concern. Treatments that are less likely to leave a scar
include salicylic acid, cryotherapy, and laser surgery.
History of recurrent warts. If
you have a history of warts that come back, you may want to discuss more aggressive
treatment methods with your doctor.
Location and number of warts. Large areas covered by warts may be better treated with
salicylic acid than with more painful, potentially scarring
Age. Painful treatments, such as
cryotherapy, may not be appropriate for young children. If you are older than
age 60 and have never had warts, you may want to see a doctor to check any skin
growths for skin cancer.
Time needed for treatment. Topical (putting medicine on the wart) treatment is often
slower than surgical treatment. Some treatment methods, such as immunotherapy
applied by a health professional, require repeated office visits. In such
cases, the expense and inconvenience may outweigh the benefits of