Verrucas are a big problem.

They can hurt,
Be unsightly
and resist treatment – in some cases, for many years.

For a long time, there have only really been two types of treatments – acids and freezing. These can take a long time to achieve a result and can often be painful. Sometimes even after many attempts, the verruca can still be there – nightmare!

When I qualified (back in the eighties!), all I had to offer was Salicylic Acid – this needed to be strapped under a tight dressing and held over the verruca for a week at a time. The tape can make the skin itchy, and although the acid is relatively mild, it can sometimes cause a strong reaction with the skin; it was usually the dressing making the patient uncomfortable that meant it had to come off early, and therefore not be very effective. The treatment is sometimes very slow and gentle (making it great for kids), and some patients give up long before a result is achieved!

Cryotherapy came next – I use Liquid Nitrogen. This is very cold – around -189 degrees Celsius!!! It’s much colder than dry ice and much colder than any of the over the counter freezing kits that you can buy in the chemist. The treatment involves the Liquid Nitrogen being held against the verruca until the whole area freezes solid. It’s then allowed to defrost and repeated. The area is likely to be sore, especially straight afterwards. There is a risk of blistering, but it is a much more effective and immediate treatment than using acid. However, I would usually avoid using it on kids under ten years old unless they are feeling brave!

Another option is needling – this is an old technique from the 1960s that’s being increasingly used now. The verruca is anaesthetised with a local anaesthetic, and the area is punctured many times with another needle – the idea is the verruca is pulverised. This hopefully stimulates an immune reaction, allowing your own defences to destroy the verruca. It’s surprising that afterwards, the area is only mildly sore, and within a day, it usually feels fine. There is a reasonable chance that some verruca can go after only one session using this method – but it does involve needles, and not everyone is happy about those!

In the last four years, there has been a new treatment available – Swift Microwave Therapy. Swift is a revolutionary type of treatment that uses microwaves to alter the virus that causes verruca to be more “visible” to your own immune system. Coupled with a concise blast of heat, these two effects combine together to increase the chances of the verruca going much sooner than conventional treatments. In a recent study, up to 76% of long-standing verruca resolved after just three treatments. The brief burst of microwave energy can be uncomfortable, so it’s best avoided on very young children!

Swift is available as a package of up to 3 separate treatments, spaced one month apart; this includes a follow-up appointment around three months after the last session.

So if you’ve tried everything else and you still have your verruca or are embarrassed, don’t worry – book an appointment for the latest technology to get rid of your verruca.

 

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