There is a negative and sometimes dirty connotation to hearing the word “wart”, but that could not be further from the truth. Verruca (warts) are typically benign tumors that are caused by a virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that produces papules – most commonly on fingers and heels. They are able to enter the skin and grow through microscopic cracks or cuts in the skin that can occur from over washing hands (which strips moisture) or skipping out on applying cream to the soles of your feet. Past methods of treating these annoying and recurrent skin lesions included liquid nitrogen, surgical excision cautery or topical medication such as bleomycin and salicylic acid. While these methods are still valid, understanding the depth and rich blood supply that feeds these deep lesions, requires a more aggressive and effective treatment; hence laser therapy.
Here’s the breakdown:
Best for: Treatment of warts on soles of the feet and fingers, especially around nails.
Treatments needed: Typically three to five treatments are needed.
How it works: Treating warts requires a multi-step approach. First, Dr. Ostad will numb the area with a cold spray composed of ethyl-chloride to reduce the pain associated with the anesthetic injection. Pressure from the weight of our bodies (typically on the heels) causes the wart(s) to push deep into the skin and become quite painful. After it is numb, Dr. Ostad will remove the dead callused skin that is covering the wart and expose it for optimal treatment. He will then use a pulsed laser at a high setting to penetrate deep into the skin in order to restrict blood supply that feeds the verruca and eventually causing it to die.
How to prep: If the wart is on your foot, don’t plan any sporting activities that would increase pressure to your feet.
Post procedure: There might be some tenderness for 1 – 5 days following treatment as the wound heals. You will be required to clean the wound and apply an antibiotic ointment twice daily. It is recommended to cover the wound with a non-stick dressing or bandage. Most patients state pain is mild and tolerable with Tylenol. Going forward, it is essential to refrain from over-washing hands and using antibacterial hand sanitizers as this causes dryness and increases the likelihood of getting warts again. You should moisturize hands after washing and use a cream that contains urea to prevent cracks in the skin.
Contraindications: Coagulant disorders, Diabetes, current infection in or around area.