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(A-Z listing includes diseases, conditions, tests and procedures)
 

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 warts

Growths around nails and the back of hands; usually have a rough surface; grayish-yellow or brown in color

Hand and foot warts

Located 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 warts

Small, smooth growths that grow in groups up to 100 at a time; most often appear on children's faces

Genital warts

Grow on the genitals and are occasionally sexually transmitted; are soft and don't have a rough surface like other common warts

Filiform warts

Small, long, narrow growths that usually appear on eyelids, face, or neck

Plantar Warts

 

This condition occurs when a virus enters the body through cuts or breaks in the skin and causes non-cancerous growths to build up on the soles of the feet. Plantar warts are not dangerous, but they can be painful and resistant to treatment.

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

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Make a Health Promise

Skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancer cases. Protecting your skin from the sun is vital. It’s also important to examine your skin on a regular basis. Become familiar with moles or other skin conditions in order to better identify changes. If you or your family has a history of skin cancer, visit a dermatologist regularly for routine skin checkups.

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