Warts (Common Warts)

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideCommon Childhood Skin Disorders

Common Childhood Skin Disorders

What if wart removal treatments fail?

If these treatments fail, see a doctor to freeze the wart with liquid nitrogen or burn it with an electric needle. First, however, make sure that the doctor treats warts in this manner (or some related manner) since some primary doctors do not use special methods and may refer individuals to a dermatologist.

Other treatments a doctor may use are

  • imiquimod (Aldara), an immune-stimulator that is approved for use on genital warts but has been reported to be effective in some common warts as well; note that it is quite expensive;
  • injections of Candidin (a extract to test for sensitivity to Candida yeast);
  • injections of bleomycin, a chemotherapeutic agent used in cancer treatment;
  • treatment with a contact sensitizing agent;
  • surgical destruction.

Unless warts are very large and uncomfortable, surgical removal or aggressive laser surgery to remove the warts is generally avoided because of the likelihood of scarring. Since warts are caused by a virus, they may recur following attempts at surgical removal or any other type of therapy. Currently, there is no evidence that vaccination against sexually acquired HPV types has any effect on the prevention or treatment of common wart infections.

Reviewed on 2/22/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Miller, D.J., and R.J. Strauch. "Management of Cutaneous Warts of the Hand." J Hand Surg Am 40.11 Nov. 2015: 2274-276.

Sterling, J.C., S. Handfield-Jones, P.M. Hudson. British Association of Dermatologists. "Guidelines for the management of cutaneous warts." Br J Dermatol. 144.1 Jan. 2001: 4-11.

"Viral Warts." DermNet NZ. Nov. 16, 2011. <http://dermnetnz.org/viral/viral-warts.html>.

IMAGES:

1.MedicineNet

2.Getty Images

3.Medscape, Interactive Media LLC, "Wart filiform eyelid" by Schweintechnik

4.iStock

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