Wart is a solid blister like skin growth caused by viral infection. Warts are mostly harmless and generally disappear after few months. It is contagious and usually enter the body in an area of broken skin or sexually transmitted (genital warts).
Types of warts :
- Common wart or Verruca vulgaris : Common wart is a raised wart with rough surface. The most common location of this type of warts are hands, but can grow anywhere on the body.
- Flat wart or Verruca plana : This type of warts are comparatively smaller and flattened and can occur in large numbers. This type of warts are most common on the face, neck, hands, wrists and knees.
- Filiform or digitate wart : Filiform wart is a thread- or finger-like wart with single long stalk and most common on the face, especially near the eyelids and lips.
- Plantar wart or Verruca plantaris : Plantar wart is a hard hard, thick patches of skin often with multiple black specks in the center, usually only found on the pressure points on plantar surface of the feet. Plantar warts may be painful.
- Mosaic wart : This is a group of tightly clustered plantar-type warts, commonly present on the hands or soles of the feet.
- Periungual wart : Perilingual wart is a cauliflower-like cluster of warts that occurs around the toe nails or fingernails. This type of wart can affect nail growth.
- Genital wart or venereal wart or Condyloma acuminatum or Verruca acuminata : Genital warts are highly contagious wart that occurs on the genitalia or around anus.
Warts are caused by the infection of human papilloma virus (HPV). There are more than 100 known types of human papilloma viruses. HPV infects the squamous epithelium of the skin or genitals. Each HPV type is only able to infect a few specific areas on the body and can produce wart (a benign growth ) or papilloma (epithelial tumor). High-risk HPV types are associated with cancers such as cervical cancer, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal and oropharyngeal cancers. Some low risk HPV types and wart types are listed below.
- Common warts : HPV types 2 and 4 are the most common cause of common wart although types 1, 3, 26, 29, and 57 also may be the cause.
- Plantar warts : Plantar warts are mostly caused by HPV type 1 and other types are 2, 3, 4, 27, 28, and 58.
- Anogenital warts : Caused by HPV types 6, 11, 42 and 44.
- Flat warts : Caused by HPV types 3, 10, and 28.
Treatments : There are many effective medications and treatments to remove warts.
- Salicylic acid : Salicylic acid is effective for the removal of common warts. It produces anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing the activity of cyclooxygenase (COX), the enzyme responsible for the production of pro-inflammatory mediators prostaglandins. Generally adhesive pads treated with salicylic acid or a bottle of concentrated salicylic acid solution are used for the treatment.
- Imiquimod : Imiquimod acts as an immune response modifier by encouraging interferon production. Topical cream of imiquimod is prescribed for the treatment of genital warts.
- Dinitrochlorobenzene : Dinitrocholrobenzine induces an allergic immune response resulting in inflammations, that keep away the wart-causing virus. It is applied directly to the warts. Dinitrocholrobenzine known to cause genetic mutations, so it must be administered by a physician.
- Keratolysis : This is the procedure of removing dead surface skin cells using salicylic acid, blistering agents, formaldehyde and with mechanical paring of the wart with a pumice stone or blade.
- Electrodesiccation : In this process the wart tissues are destroyed using heat conduction from a metal probe heated by electric current.
- Cryosurgery : Cryosurgery involves freezing the wart tissue, creating a blister between the wart and the epidermal layer, then the wart and the surrounding dead skin fall off by themselves. The freezing is done by liquid nitrogen, carbon di oxide, argon and the mixture of dimethyl ether and propane.
- Laser treatment : Removal of the wart is done with a pulse dye laser or carbon dioxide laser.
- Infrared coagulator : This procedure of wart removal is done by an intense source of infrared light in a small beam.