Warts are skin growths that usually appear either alone or in clusters on the hands, feet, arms, legs, face, and other places on the body. Caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and transmitted via touch, they are typically benign and may occasionally disappear of their own accord.
If a wart is lasting for a while, a person may choose to have it treated or removed professionally by a dermatologist. Warts can be embarrassing, bothersome, and even painful.
Warts most often will sprout on a person’s hands or fingers as small, flesh-colored grainy bumps and feel rough or hard to the touch. Discovering how a person got exposed is usually impossible, as it takes several months after exposure before the first signs appear. There are more than 150 strains of HPV, and not all of them cause warts.
To avoid spreading warts, try to avoid contact with any warts, including touching your own warts. Avoid picking at them, as this can spread the virus to other places of the body. An emery board, fingernail clippers, or pumice stone used to file down a wart should not be reused, as it can further spread the virus.
What’s the Best Way to Treat Warts?
A dermatologist is the preferred doctor to treat warts on a person. The physician will examine the wart and possibly scrape the surface to verify the presence of dark dots underneath, which are clotted blood vessels (patients sometimes think these are seeds, and thus often call them ‘seed warts’).
Depending on the preferences of the patient, the location of the wart, and any additional factors, a dermatologist may initially recommend a topical medication that will slowly and gently remove the wart.
However, to more rapidly remove a wart, a patient may elect for cryotherapy, or ‘freezing’ the wart with liquid nitrogen. This kills the warts cells and usually causes a blister to form around and under the wart, causing the dead tissue to slough off after about a week. One benefit of this is that it helps boost the body’s natural ability to fight a wart, but it may require repeat treatments for optimum results.
If those methods prove unsuccessful, a dermatologist can try several other methods, such as topical trichloroacetic acid or cantherone, or injecting chemicals directly into the wart. However, even with these treatments, more than one treatment session may be necessary.
Surgical Treatment Options
If the wart persists, one last option is attempting to remove it surgically by completely ‘cutting out’ the wart and sewing the area closed. However, this will definitely leave a scar, and again, there is no guarantee this will cure the wart.
Another method is treatment with a pulsed-dye laser that cauterizes the tissues and blood vessels, and ideally the affected tissue then dies and falls away, taking the wart with it. Unfortunately, statistics on this method are limited, and it can also result in scarring.
Dermatology in Fort Worth
While warts may be embarrassing and unwanted, getting rid of them is often difficult. The best method for removing them is to visit a skilled dermatologist.