Wart Removal in Washington, DCTwo main types of warts affect human skin. Human papovavirus accounts for the majority of infections. There are more than 70 types of HPV and they can occur anywhere on the body. Warts are named by their location (i.e. “plantar” is the bottom of the foot, and “genital” is on or near the genital areas). Although warts are contagious, the virus is so ubiquitous that it is usually not reasonable or possible to pinpoint the source of infection. The exception to this is, of course, infections in the genital area. Certain strains of genital wart virus can predispose to cervical cancer – so identification and avoidance of contagious sources and treatment of the warts is important.
Warts often regress spontaneously, but this process can be slow. If a wart is painful or unsightly, treatment may be sought. The most common treatment employed for wart removal are liquid nitrogen cryotherapy (freezing), however for warts resistant to this treatment we also offer immunotherapy and laser wart removal which are discussed below. It is important to realize that no destructive modality is perfect and several treatments may be needed. Additionally, wart destruction may result in white spots or scarring.
Wart Removal ImmunotherapyA newer form of therapy for wart removal is immunotherapy. In this modality, a drug (Aldara - Imiquimod) is applied to the skin at the site of the wart. This drug stimulates the formation of interferon and other cytokines, which stimulates the bodies own immune system to more vigorously fight the wart infection. Essentially, this treatment helps the body to cure itself by stimulating its own immune system.
Laser Wart RemovalWe are one of the few providers offering laser wart removal in Washington, DC. For stubborn warts resistant to traditional therapies, several types of laser may be used. Carbon dioxide or erbium laser vaporizes the top layers of skin, physically eliminating the wart. Vascular lasers target the dilated blood vessels at the base of the wart and can eliminate the blood supply to the wart causing it to regress.
Please note that many insurance companies will not cover some or all of the cost associated with laser wart removal. Please contact our office for more information or to request eligibility information.
Molluscum ContagiosumA second type of wart virus (a pox virus) causes molluscum contagiosum. These are small, dome shaped bumps seen most commonly in children and young adults. They should be considered an annoyance because they are so common and do not lead to further disease. While molluscum will usually regress and disappear without treatment over several months, if treatment is desired any of the previously mentioned destructive methods, immunotherapy, or laser removal may be used.
Warts, then, are common and, in most cases, benign. Understanding the significance of an infection and the options for therapy is essential in dealing with this problem.