Warts are a common yet frustrating issue to treat for doctors and patients alike. They are caused by a virus, typically Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which invades the skin and causes irregular growth and discoloration. Aside from being unsightly, warts can cause significant pain, especially when they occur on a weight bearing surface of the foot.
Traditional treatments include topical acids such as salicylic acid which cauterize or burn away at the wart. Other topical drugs such as Imiquimod act as immune response modifiers to help the body fight off the wart. However, topical medications often require multiple applications. Additionally, the wart itself must be “debrided” or scraped before application of these topical medicines which can be painful.
Cryotherapy is another common form of treatment for warts in which the warts are frozen. However, this too can be painful for the patient, and medical literature has shown that recurrence rates after freezing a wart can be as high as 30-40%.
Advanced Podiatry is one of the few podiatry groups in New York that offers CO2 laser therapy for management of warts. The CO2 laser emits a precise dose of heat which is used to destroy the wart. The laser also cauterizes the blood vessels which supply warts to prevent them from recurring. While recurrence rates with topical medications and cryotherapy are relatively high, warts treated only once with the CO2 laser rarely return! Because the warts are debrided with the laser rather than a traditional scalpel blade, scarring is minimal and the end result is wart-free skin which is cosmetically pleasing.