If conservative treatment for warts is unable to effectively kill the virus, or the warts seem to recur frequently to the point that weekly visits to the podiatrist for the next couple months are needed, it is reasonable to pursue surgical removal. Although the warts can come back, this is an effective method of treatment. This can be accomplished in different ways.
The simplest way to achieve wart removal is simply to cut it out. If there are only a couple warts and if they are not too deep, this can be done with local anesthetic in the office. A small amount of numbing medicine will be put around the wart to make the procedure as painless as possible. The procedure is done with a scalpel and a curette, which allows the podiatrist to completely remove all virus infected tissue. A small dressing and some ointment will then be applied and need to be changed for the next couple weeks while the wound heals. The location will be tender for the upcoming weeks, so wearing a special shoe that off loads the area may be more comfortable.
If the wart is too deep or the involvement is too wide spread, it may be necessary to be taken to the operating room for removal there. The procedure is the same as outlined above; however, the patient is sedated in addition to the local anesthetic to decrease the amount of pain. This allows the doctor to be more aggressive to insure complete removal of warty tissue. Cautery and/or lasers are now often used to burn the edges of the previous wart to kill any additional virus left behind. This process of curettage, followed by cautery, then repeating the cycle can be very effective in killing the virus.
Although warts are certainly not life threatening, if they are found on the weight bearing surface of the feet, they can alter your activities and decrease your ability to experience painless exercise. Talk to your podiatrist if you are struggling with recurrent planter’s warts. Together, you will find a solution to the problem.