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Health Library : Dermatology

 

Warts

What are warts?

Warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by the papillomavirus. Warts are more common in children than adults, although they can develop at any age. Warts can spread to other parts of the body and to other people. There are many different types of warts, due to many different papillomavirus types (more than 100). Warts aren't painful, except when located on the feet. Most warts go away, without treatment, over an extended period of time.

Common types of warts

The following are the more common types of warts:

Common wartsGrowths around nails and the back of hands; usually have a rough surface; grayish-yellow or brown in color
Hand and foot wartsLocated on the soles of feet (plantar warts) or the palms of the hand (palmar warts) with black dots (clotted blood vessels that once fed them); clusters of plantar warts are called mosaic; can be painful
Flat wartsSmall, smooth growths that grow in groups up to 100 at a time; most often appear on children's faces
Genital wartsGrow on the genitals and are occasionally sexually transmitted; are soft and don't have a rough surface like other common warts
Filiform wartsSmall, long, narrow growths that usually appear on eyelids, face, or neck

What is the treatment for warts?

Specific treatment for warts will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the growths
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the growths
  • Your opinion or preference
Warts often disappear without treatment. Treatment of warts depends on several factors, including:
  • Length of time on the skin
  • Location
  • Type
  • Severity

Treatment may include:

  • Application of salicylic and lactic acid (to soften the infected area)
  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen
  • Electrodesiccation (to destroy the wart with an electrical current)
  • Immunotherapy
  • Laser surgery

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Dermatology


 Sources & References

OUR SERVICES

 Find an MUSC Doctor:
 »General Internal Medicine
 »Dermatology
 »Family Medicine


 Treatment at MUSC:
 »Dermatology Clinic
 »Family Medicine Center

 

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