Whilst warts are very common and totally harmless, they can be itchy, annoying and embarrassing, depending on where the wart is located on your body. Technically, dermatologists come across two main types of ‘warts’ called seborrhoeic warts and viral warts. The two are quite different, this article covers viral warts.
Warts typically appear on your fingers and hands but can actually develop on any part of the body. They are firm, grainy and rough skin growths
How is a wart different from a verruca?
Despite the different names, the two are in fact the same entity which has a different appearance on different parts of the body. Due to pressure, viral warts on feet tend to flatten out and are then called verrucas. What sometimes causes confusion is how to differentiate between a corn and a verruca. Recognising this difference is very important. Treatment for corns and verrucas are not only different but the wrong treatment may well cause harm. Dermatologists will often use a dermatoscope to ensure the correct diagnosis before treatments.
Different types of warts
The common wart appears as raised skin coloured, brown, grey or black rough and hard lump that forms on the skin.
Plane warts are typically multiple small flat, and skin-coloured located most commonly on the face, hands, and shins, where many can appear at once. These are often spread by shaving resulting in numerous warts.
What causes warts?
Common warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It’s a common virus with more than 150 types, but only a few cause warts on your hands and body. Furthermore, certain subtypes cause warts on hands and feet and different subtypes cause genital warts.
Warts can be spread to people from contaminated surfaces, shared towels or through close skin contact. The virus usually spreads through breaks in your skin. Biting your nails also can cause warts to spread on your fingertips and around your nails. Be sure to take the necessary steps to prevent warts from infecting other people or other parts of your body.
You often don’t know where you caught a wart, as it can take as long as two to six months for a wart to develop after coming into contact with the virus. Eventually a wart will usually go away on their own, after your immune system fights off the virus, but this can take months or even years.
How to remove warts?
The cosmetic removal of warts is a simple and safe procedure which can be carried out in one appointment with a private dermatologist. Many people choose to remove warts because they find them bothersome, inconvenient or embarrassing.
Wart removal is something a private dermatologist can do without the need for a GP referral. The removal treatment is safe, quick and effective, although the type of treatment will depend on the size, shape and location of the wart. Wart removals can be carried out by surgical removal or freezing treatment (cryotherapy).
- Freezing treatment (cryotherapy) – is the treatment of choice for most warts and this treatment does not use a local anaesthetic. Contrary to popular belief, the aim of the freezing is not to try and ‘freeze kill’ the virus. The aim is to ‘dismantle’ the viral particle so that the body can ‘see’ what immune response to produce. This is the reason multiple warts start disappearing together after successful treatment. This immunity then lasts a very long time, sometimes for life. Cryotherapy treatment generally lasts about 6 months on average.
- Surgical removals – are normally carried out under a local anaesthetic injection which numbs the surrounding area. The wart is then safely removed with a specialised scalpel (called a curette). Generally, for this type of removal, no stitches are required. This is the option for quick removal but has the disadvantage that viral warts are more likely to return as the body does not develop immunity to the wart virus following surgical removal.
How to book an appointment for wart removal
We will get you booked in for your wart removal treatment at a time and date of your choice. There’s no consultation needed if you opt for a surgical removal, but if you would like a consultation prior to your curettage removal to discuss the details of the procedure this can be arranged with no extra cost.