Warts and Verrucae

Warts occur on hands and legs, and occasionally on faces.  They occur more in children but can affect people of all ages.

They are caused by an infective organism, a poxvirus, and can be transmitted or spread by direct contact or autoinoculation, meaning if a wart is scratched, the viral particles may be spread to another area of skin.  Warts beside nails are difficult to remove.  Verrucae are like a wart on the soles of feet or toes.

Young growing warts respond to cryotherapy. Older more mature ones are quite thick and embedded deep in the skin, with a rich blood supply. After numbing with local anaesthetic, these are removed with a radiofrequency technique or a sharp curette, painlessly scraping all of the wart tissue off. The base is then fulgurated, that is the blood supply is destroyed.  The ‘crater’ in the skin heals from the base.

A CO2 ablative laser offers an alternative method of removing warts.

Locally applied acid paste or burning potions are also used by some and require many repeated treatments, usually after paring the superficial dead skin off first.

If you wait long enough all warts will eventually disappear. All warts can recur, but those on fingers or the face look unsightly, or get knocked and may bleed which can be painful.