Warts/verrucas are skin growths caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. They are contagious, spreading from one individual to another by a variety of mechanisms, from direct contact to aerosol spray. They are frequently body-part specific (such as the hands or the feet) without spreading to other areas. Many warts seem to come and go at their own leisure. They cause discomfort, itching and sometimes can multiply in clusters.
The primary reason for treating warts is the elimination of symptoms (including relieving cosmetic concerns) and ultimately, removal of the warts. If left untreated, visible warts can resolve on their own, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number.
For years practitioners have used cryotherapy to freeze and destroy the wart tissue. Newer advances in laser technology target the chromophore (the vascular component of the wart), shrinking down the tiny blood vessels that supply the wart that keeps it alive, eventually starving the wart of blood and nutrients. The virus dies and the wart disappears. This procedure is virtually painless and many times an anaesthetic is not required.
Sometimes multiple treatments are needed and after care procedures need to be followed strictly. Occasionally a small scar can be left at the site of the wart.
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