Warts are harmless skin growths caused by a virus. They can grow on
any part of the body, like on the face, along the forearms or on the
finger. Warts have a rough surface on which tiny, dark dots can often be
seen. On pressure areas like the palms or the soles, they appear flat.
Warts on the sole (called plantar warts) grow inward from the pressure
of standing and walking and are often painful.
Warts are common and can be a nuisance. They may bleed if injured.
Common warts never turn cancerous. Warts are contagious, and may spread
from one part of the body to another or to other children. We don't know
why some people get warts while others don't. There is no way to prevent
Warts often disappear by themselves, especially in young children.
This spontaneous disappearance is less common in older children and
Warts on the genitals are usually sexually acquired.
There is no perfect treatment for warts, since we are unable to kill
the wart virus. Treatment consists of destroying the outer layer of skin
where the wart grows on. This can be done by surgery, laser ablation,
electrocautery (destroying with a weak current), by freezing (with
liquid nitrogen) or with chemicals like salicylic acid. The treatment to
be used depends on the location and size of the warts and the judgement
of the dermatologist. Sometimes new warts will form while existing ones
are being destroyed. All we can do is treat the new warts when they
become large enough to be seen.
No matter what treatment is used, warts occasionally fail to
disappear. They may return weeks or even months after an apparent cure.
Don't be concerned if a wart recurs; just consult your dermatologist for
further therapy. The treatment may be repeated, or a different method
may be used to get rid of the warts.
Liquid nitrogen treatment (cryotherapy) is the commonest treatment
method for warts. Your wart and the surrounding skin can be treated with
liquid nitrogen, a very cold substance..Liquid nitrogen, when applied to
the skin, usually results in blister formation similar to a burn. The
wart is lifted and it will fall off when the blister dries. You may
experience some pain which should be easily controlled with simple pain
There is no need to cover the treated areas if the blisters are
intact. However, if these blisters are very large and tense, they may be
pricked with a needle sterilized in a flame. A simple dry dressing may
also be applied.
At least a week must lapse between treatments, even if a blister does