Safe and Efficient Removal of Warts and Mother Spots
Warts are benign skin tumours. They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 different types of HPV. Some cause warts on the skin or mucous membranes, while others are partly responsible for cervical cancer. The virus is transmitted by direct skin contact, and survives well in moist environments (swimming pools, showers and sports locker rooms or wet towels). Often, the virus enters the skin through an entry point. This can be a small wound. People with reduced immunity (e.g. AIDS and chemotherapy) are more susceptible to infection with the virus.
We distinguish between genital and non-genital warts: the genital ones (condyloma acuminata) occur on the genitals, the non-genital ones elsewhere on the body. The latter category includes:
- classic warts (verrucae vulgares) that can occur anywhere on the skin, but mainly on hands (80%), elbows, feet and knees. There are also threadlike (filiform) warts that are more likely to occur on the face;
- flat warts (verrucae planae); 1 to
- warts on the sole of the foot (verrucae plantares).
Warts can be treated by freezing with a liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) that has a temperature down to -170°C. This very low temperature makes the wart die. This is somewhat painful. A blister will appear for the first few days. Usually several sessions are needed, e.g. 3 to 6 every 1-2 weeks. Before applying cryotherapy, the doctor may first cut away some calluses.
Wart burning away is an option to remove warts, this is also called Coagulation/curetting of skin abnormality. Burning away is quick and usually gives instant results. The wart tissue is burnt with a high-frequency electric current. The electric current passing through the tissue dries out the wart and burns it away.
Prior to both treatments, a numbing cream is applied to relieve any pain.
Can a wart be malignant?
Warts are not malignant and treatment is not necessary. If common warts and age-related warts cause symptoms, treatment is possible by scraping off, freezing with liquid nitrogen, cutting away or electric burning. You will often be given an anaesthetic for this. Water warts usually disappear by themselves.
How deep can a wart be?
Foot warts are often persistent and grow deep into the skin due to pressure on the sole of the foot. The flat wart (verruca plana) is a smooth, flat and only a few millimetres in size, with skin-coloured/pink or light brown bumps. There are often many at once. They occur mostly on the face, forearms, backs of hands and legs.
What happens when you scratch open a wart?
The virus spreads through skin-to-skin contact, especially when a wart is scratched open: the virus can then get out more easily. In this way, others are infected with the virus, or other skin parts of the 'patient' itself are infected.
Will a scar remain?
In superficial wart, no scar remains but in a dermal (deeper) wart, it can take a few days/weeks for the scar to go away completely. The scar that remains is red in colour.
Post-treatment is generally not necessary. In wart treatment where the callus layer has been removed, the wart sometimes bleeds a little. A plaster is then applied after treatment. The cells of the treated skin die and form a scab. Sometimes the spot is a little damp. A (blood) blister may also form. This blister may be left intact and will slowly dry by itself.
It is best to keep the treated area dry. If the skin has opened up, it is important to prevent infection. It is advised to apply an antibiotic ointment. Sun exposure can adversely affect the cosmetic result, use a sunscreen to prevent this.
You may swim 24 hours after treatment but always wear bathing slippers if the wart is on the foot. Dry the treated area thoroughly after bathing.