The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes warts. HPV usually enters through an injury, infecting the uppermost layer of skin and causing a small area of cells to grow quickly causing a wart to form. Warts can show up at any location on the body, and are very common among children and teens.

There are six basic types of warts:
  • Common warts are dome-shaped and have a rough texture and a grayish-brown color. They are frequently seen on the hands.
  • Plantar warts are patches of thickened skin with dark specks that occur on the soles of your feet.
  • Flat warts are small; pink, yellow, or light brown; and grow on the face, legs, or arms. They have flat tops.
  • Filiform warts are skin-colored growths with thread-like protrusions. They show up on the nose, mouth, or beard area.
  • Periungual warts grow around and under fingernails and toenails. These bumps have a rough surface and uneven border and can alter the shape of the nail.
  • Genital warts occur in the genital, anal, or groin area. They sometimes appear as a tiny cauliflower.
Warts are not generally a health threat and most resolve on their own in a few years. However, they can be symptomatic or unattractive. Sometimes they bleed or become sore if they are on the hands, feet, or where clothing rubs, and genital warts can be quite uncomfortable. Our board certified dermatologists can usually diagnose a wart visually. In some cases, a skin biopsy (a small tissue sample viewed under a microscope) may be beneficial to rule out other, more serious conditions.

Depending on its size and location, your wart may be removed by any of these methods, or a combination plan:
  • Cryotherapy; freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen.
  • Topical medication applied to the wart.
  • Medication injected into it.
  • Surgical excision; removing the wart with a scalpel.
  • Electrosurgery; removal by electric current.
  • Curettage; a surgical technique to scoop out the wart.
Often, multiple treatments are necessary, but fortunately these procedures are brief and well tolerated by most patients. Healing time is minimal for healthy individuals. Be aware, though, that with genital warts, treatment destroys the wart, not the internal virus that causes it. Therefore, warts may come back or appear elsewhere on the body.

Count on the Lupo Center for Aesthetic and General Dermatology for discreet, effective wart removal.

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