Warts may not make for pleasant casual conversation, but if you are suffering from them you want relief.
Usually painless, they are small growths on the skin. Caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), they can appear on different parts of the body on the surface of the skin. They come in different shapes and sizes and can be flat and smooth or appear as tiny bumps with a rough surface.
Capillaries – tiny blood vessels – grow into the core of a wart, supplying it with blood. While they are common, an impaired immune system can put you at greater risk for warts.
When the growths appear on the foot they are called plantar warts. The pressure of standing and walking can make having a wart painful. Because with every step the wart gets pushed beneath the skin’s surface, a layer of thick skin develops, creating a callus on top of the wart. As the callus and wart grow, it can feel as if the individual is walking on a pebble.
While the discomfort can be eased with special foot cushions and over-the-counter medications, laser surgery is a good option to consider for eliminating larger, hard-to-treat or painful plantar warts.
A beam of light is aimed on the wart to burn and destroy it, and the procedure can be performed in a surgical center such as the CARES Surgicenter–part of the Saint Peter’s Healthcare System–with no anesthesia. Other plantar wart removal methods include surgical excision and freezing, but these have lower success rates than laser surgery.
A pulse dye laser treatment is used during the noninvasive surgical procedure. The laser works to “kill” the wart by cauterizing–burning–the tiny blood vessels around it, cutting off blood supply to it. With no blood supply, the infected tissue eventually dies, and the wart falls off. Talk to your doctor about whether this is a treatment option for you.
Plantar wart removal using the pulse dye laser is highly successful, requires no anesthesia, minimal, if any, downtime following surgery, and most often results in a low recurrence rate.
Courtesy of Steven Dribbon, DPM, a podiatrist affiliated with Saint Peter’s University Hospital who practices in Highland Park and Flemington. The CARES Surgicenter can be reached at (732) 565-5400 or visit www.saintpetershcs.com/caressurgicenter.