Understanding Verruca


A verruca is a medical name for a wart. They are small benign warts caused by the same virus that causes cervical cancer, the human papillomavirus. They either occur on their own or in clusters, and they are generally not painful.

Warts will go on their own over time and if they are in a location where they are not obvious or causing distress then the best treatment method may be just to leave them alone and let them run their course. How long warts last depends on how strong your resistance to the virus in your system is, and warts can be a particular issue for children and young people who have problems with their immune systems.

A verruca is a name given to a plantar wart which appears on the foot. They are described as looking like a cauliflower and often have pale tissue dotted with specks of black. Although warts are generally painless, warts on the foot suffer from the added complication of being forced into the tissue of the foot by the weight of the body. They can cause pain to the sufferer and for this reason, many people who are suffering from one or more verrucas decide to take immediate action to remove them.


Surgery is usually not the first port of call for verruca removal but is something that can be considered when treatments with lotions or creams have failed. The treatment must be carried out by a doctor, who will numb the affected area first with local anesthetic and then be removing the verruca using a sharp scalpel. The drawbacks of using surgery as a method for removing warts or verrucas is that it can be quite painful when the local anesthetic wears off, especially when walking, and stitches may be required if the wart removed is large.


Laser removal is being advertised for all sorts of cosmetic reasons, and verruca and wart removal is one of these. There is however limited evidence that burning them off with a laser is an effective method of removing warts on any part of the body, and this method also carries the risk of leaving permanent scars. This may not be such a pressing issue when the verruca to be removed is on the sole of the foot, but if the wart is on another part of the body the possibility of scarring should be something that is considered carefully, especially given that warts will eventually disappear of their own accord.


Freezing warts off is another surgical procedure which has been shown to be effective in removing verrucas and warts on any part of the body. This is a method which is safe and carries few side effects and is recommended for pregnant women before the use of salicylic acid products. Liquid nitrogen at very low temperatures is used to freeze warts and as this must be handled with care it is essential that the procedure is carried out only by trained medical professionals. The doctor or skin specialist will apply the liquid nitrogen directly on to the verruca using a small tube, ensuring that none of the liquid gets on to the healthy skin surrounding the verruca. The tissue forming the verruca will be killed immediately, but it will take a few weeks for the verruca to drop off completely and reveal the healthy skin underneath. It is also important to keep the wart covered as the treatment is being carried out so as not to pass the virus which causes warts on to other members of the family.

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