Warts are extremely common and can be extremely stubborn. An effective alternative to chemical treatment or freezing is laser therapy. Treatment works by selective absorption of laser energy by the blood supply which feeds the wart. The blood supply is cut off and the wart “dies”.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR STUBBORN, RECURRENT CASES OF WARTS
Warts – small ugly growths that appear on the outer layer of skin - are caused by an infection of the skin after contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV). Different strains of HPV cause different types of warts than can appear anywhere on the body, but are usually found on hands, feet, legs, genitalia and face.
In our practice, we treat many, many cases of warts, as they are extremely common. A lot of these cases respond well to Cryotherapy (freezing the warts off), and this is the typical first line of treatment. Warts are frozen with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 Celsius. This creates a blister that falls off within 1-2 weeks.
Our practice also sees many cases of STUBBORN WARTS. These are warts that keep returning, grow resistant to Cryotherapy, or do not respond to it at all.
WHY ARE SOME CASES HARDER TO TREAT THAN OTHERS?
“We don’t know,” says Dr. Todd Minars. “Some people who are perfectly healthy and are in no way immunocompromised have immune systems that just aren’t very good at clearing HPV. It is like a small immunologic blind spot.”
There is no elegant “magic bullet” (like a pill) to treat the HPV virus. The way to treat warts is to destroy and get rid of the infected wart tissue itself. When recurrent infection causes repeat cases of warts, our team will tackle them with one of the more aggressive, specialized methods at our disposal. “It can take time to get rid of these types of stubborn warts,” Dr. Todd explains. “What worked during a patient’s last outbreak might not work the next time. The best way to get rid of these warts in the fastest way possible is to have a number of expert and advanced options to choose from.”
The V-Beam Vascular Laser:
Dr. Norman Minars’ tool of choice. The V-Beam is a pulsed-dye laser that’s used to treat any condition that is caused by a vascular condition. It’s a quick procedure that uses heat to destroy the wart, by destroying the blood vessels that are feeding it.
Shave it off:
This is Dr. Todd Minars’ preferred method. “It’s clean and it’s surgical,” he says. After injecting the wart with lidocaine, he removes the wart with a scalpel or razor.
Candida Antigen Immunotherapy:
Marianna Helin, ARNP, uses this approach. The idea behind this treatment is to stimulate an immunologic response so your body can fight off HPV. A small amount of the dead yeast is injected directly into the wart to build your body’s immune response to fight the virus. This method has been very successful with stubborn warts and leaves no scarring.
Dr. Ran Huo specializes in treating warts with Bleomycin, a cancer chemotherapy drug that gets injected into the warts. It has a high success rate, but it can sometimes be painful, and often 3 to 4 treatments is required. It is a last resort for warts that are resistant to all other treatments, and is not suitable for children, pregnant women, or people who have vascular conditions.
HOW WE TREAT CHILDREN WHO HAVE WARTS
Our practice treats many children with warts, and we have a painless technique that we use on all of them. Cantharidin is a liquid medication derived from a blister beetle. The Beetlejuice (as we like to call it) causes blistering, which kills of the wart. We apply it directly to the wart and leave it to dry. In 3 to 4 hours, parents can wash it off at home with soap and water. There may be some redness or tenderness in the first 2-3 days after treatment. The affected area will then heal entirely within 1 to 2 weeks.