The Human Papilloma Virus is the cause of the skin infection known as verrucae as the virus attacks the outside layer of the skin and can cause visible legions. They usually look like an area of hard skin with blackened dots and an irregular border. Verrucae’s can appear on the feet or toes and can become painful if mechanically irritated from shoes and the pressure from standing & walking. It is an harmless virus that also causes warts to develop on the fingers. There are many different sub types of verrucae from single to multiple presentations and some respond better to different treatments.
To treat or not to treat that is the question….?
There are some simple but relevant questions that need to be answered when deciding on embarking on treatment of verrucae.
1) Are they painful?
2) Are they affecting your quality of life i.e. a source of embarrassment?
3) Are you motivated and resilient because verrucae are stubborn and unpredictable things to treat.
You will be placed under a local anaesthetic and once the area is numb the wart will be punctured by a needle to inoculate the virus into the host to help your body to produce an immune reaction. The immune system is far more active in humans at a deeper layer that is what we aiming for.
Luckily, if you have several warts on your feet then we will not need to needle every single one, and will just need to inject the “mother wart” as the body will receive the same reaction to cure the problems. The treatment itself is not painful although the initial injection may be a little unpleasant, the procedure can take up to 90 minutes, and the treatment involves puncturing the verrucae until it loses all resistance.
There are very few contraindications because the needling process does not destroy skin tissue as the procedure is influenced by your general health and medical history. Clinical research has shown this treatment to be 69% successful in 46 different cases. It is a brilliant option for people who are controlled by a busy schedule and is a very cost effective and affordable method of removing the problem due to the limited number of appointments necessary.
The main advantage to this treatment method is that you will only usually require one treatment, alongside a follow up one week and 8 weeks later. Also, if you have more than one lesion then we need not treat every wart, which helps to keep your costs down as well as avoiding other painful treatment methods I.e. using caustics; acid or silver nitrates that we’re traditionally used and caused chemical burns and increased post op pain.
Currently other treatment options available for treating verrucae is occlusion therapy (covering with sports tape up to 8 weeks) and swift therapy (using microwaves to eradicate viral cells).