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Wart Removal

Wart Removal: Overview, Preparation, Procedure, Recovery, Risks, and Aftercare


Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) causes warts, which are small, benign growths on the skin. However, warts can be unsightly or uncomfortable, prompting individuals to seek removal. Wart removal is a common procedure for removing warts and alleviating their symptoms.


Individuals should consider the following before undergoing wart removal:

  • Make an appointment with a healthcare provider or dermatologist to discuss wart removal options based on the type, location, and size of the wart.

  • Include any allergies, skin conditions, or previous treatments for warts in your medical history.

  • A healthcare provider may examine the wart and surrounding skin to determine the most appropriate removal method.


Wart removal procedures vary depending on the type and location of the wart, but common methods include:

  • Over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments, such as salicylic acid, can be applied directly to the wart to gradually dissolve it.

  • Cryotherapy involves freezing and destroying the wart with liquid nitrogen. It may cause mild discomfort or blistering during and after the procedure.

  • In electrosurgery, a small electric current is used to burn and remove the wart. Local anesthesia may be used to numb the area before the procedure.

  • For larger or stubborn warts, surgical excision may be necessary. Under local anesthesia, the wart is cut out with a scalpel.

  • Warts that are resistant to or recurring can be treated with laser therapy. Laser treatment targets and destroys the blood vessels feeding the wart, causing it to shrink and eventually fall off.


It is possible for individuals to experience the following after wart removal:

  • Usually, mild redness, swelling, or discomfort at the treatment site resolves within a few days.

  • As the treated area heals, a scab or crust may form. Avoid picking or scratching the scab to prevent infection.

  • Depending on the removal method, individuals may need follow-up appointments for additional treatments or to monitor healing.


In general, wart removal procedures are safe, but they may carry certain risks, including:

  • When surgical removal methods, such as excision or laser therapy, are not performed properly, scarring may occur.

  • There is a slight risk of infection at the treatment site, especially if the healing area is not kept clean and protected.

  • It is possible for warts to recur after they have been removed, particularly if the underlying HPV infection has not been fully eradicated. Additional treatments may be needed to address recurrent warts.


Individuals are advised to follow these steps after wart removal:

  • To prevent infection, clean the treatment site gently with soap and water and pat it dry with a clean towel. Do not soak the area in water until it has fully healed.

  • Keep the treated area covered with a bandage or adhesive dressing to prevent friction, irritation, and infection.

  • Protect the treated area from direct sunlight and use sunscreen to prevent hyperpigmentation.

  • Watch for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, pain, or discharge from the wound. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any concerning symptoms.

It is important to follow proper aftercare instructions and attend follow-up appointments as needed to promote optimal healing and reduce the risk of complications following wart removal procedures.

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