Your warts continue to plague you despite everything you’ve done to get rid of them. Surgery seems to be the only option left to you. That seems pretty drastic, but if it will get rid of the warts, you’re willing to try it. First, however, you want to know more about it. What exactly does the surgery involve? What kind of doctor should you consult? Do you have to be hospitalized for the procedure? Will you have to take time off from work? How risky is wart removal surgery? Keep reading for answers to your questions.
Table of Contents
- What Is Involved in Surgical Wart Removal?
- Choosing a Wart Removal Procedure
- Surgery to Remove Plantar Warts
- How Do I Prepare for Wart Removal Surgery?
What Is Involved in Surgical Wart Removal?
Some warts don’t respond to most efforts to remove them. They resist the home remedies you’ve tried and even prescription strength creams or ointments. Your warts may even return after you’ve had them frozen off. You’re left with two choices. The first is to wait a couple years for them to disappear on their own. That’s not a viable option for many people. Your other choice is to have wart removal surgery.
Warts can be surgically removed using more than one technique.
All procedures must be performed by a trained specialist. If you can, consult with a board-certified dermatologist for any wart treatment. If there isn’t one in your area, contact a skin professional who has experience with wart removal. You may need a referral from your regular doctor.
Curettage is a medical word for cutting out a growth. Warts are not dug out. Instead, they are scooped out. The tool used in wart curettage is often spoon-shaped to easily remove the growth. Your physician may opt for a special scalpel instead. Either instrument efficiently removes the wart.
Electrosurgery uses an electrical current to zap your wart. The electricity passes through a pen with a tiny tip or loop on it. The current burns the wart and it dies. It may fall off, or your doctor may then remove the dead tissue by curettage.
Skin specialists are now using laser surgery for warts that resist all other treatments. In some cases, your doctor may choose laser surgery as the first treatment if your warts are exceptionally large or you have a lot of them close together.
Laser surgery requires specialized:
It is more expensive than other kinds of surgery.
Choosing a Wart Removal Procedure
The type of wart removal surgery chosen depends on several factors.
- The size and location of your wart.
- The kind of wart you have.
- Your pain tolerance.
- Your overall health.
Surgery is usually reserved for large or painful warts that have resisted other removal procedures. Cutting off a wart can be complicated and you’ll find more information about the procedures here.
Do I Have To Go To A Hospital?
The surgical procedures can be done on an outpatient basis in some instances. If they are performed on an inpatient basis, it’s usually only for the day. The decision will be made by your specialist based on how extensive the surgery is.
It’s rare for wart removal surgery to require more than a local anesthetic. Stitches may be required if the surgery requires a large incision.
Pros and Cons of Wart Removal Surgery
- Quickly removes the wart,
- Removes warts that are resistant to other treatments,
- Doesn’t require repeated surgeries.
- Often leaves a scar,
- Requires anesthesia,
- Even minor surgery carries risks.
Regardless of how a wart is removed, even surgically, it may return. That’s because removing a wart doesn’t kill the virus that caused it. The stages of wart removal are different for everyone. You can learn about the factors affecting removal and healing here.
Ask Your Doctor Before Surgery
Wart removal surgery may seem like a minor operation, but it’s a good idea to completely discuss the procedure with the specialist first. Questions to ask include:
- What procedure is being done.
- What are the other options, if any.
- Does he or she have experience with this procedure.
- What are the risks of the procedure.
It’s important that you fully understand how your wart is being removed before agreeing to the surgery.
What Is Wart Excision?
Excision means cutting out a growth. Wart excision is done by curettage. If your doctor chooses to cut out the wart with a straight blade rather than a curved instrument, he or she is using shave excision.
When individuals use something like a razor blade or knife to cut out their warts at home, they are performing primitive shave excision.
What they learn by trying home excision is that:
- It is very painful,
- It is very bloody,
- It won’t get rid of the wart,
- The wound will likely become infected.
Home surgery can result in serious problems that require professional medical attention. You’re well advised to consult a wart removal doctor. If finances are an issue, look for a clinic serving your area.
Professional excision is often used for external genital or anal warts. Internal anal and genital warts are usually removed by laser surgery. A special electrosurgical excision known as LEEP may be used for cervical warts.
Surgery to Remove Plantar Warts
Plantar warts infect your feet, ankles, or toes. They are usually quite painful and can impair your ability to walk. Although other wart removal treatments can remove plantar warts, they can take weeks to months to work.
Surgical removal of plantar warts gets rid of the growths quickly. The procedure can be painful and take a long time to heal, but many individuals are willing to endure the surgical pain to be rid of the wart pain. Although warts can recur after any treatment to remove them, the rate of recurrence is less with surgical removal in most cases.
How Is Plantar Wart Surgery Done?
Plantar wart surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Because plantar warts often have a callus or other protective tough skin covering them, the doctor may debride the area first. You may receive a local anesthetic either before or after debridement.
When the wart area is numb, the wart will be surgically removed using the method decided upon by you and your doctor. Your foot will be bandaged after the procedure and you will be given aftercare instructions.
You may need to stay off your feet for a day or two, depending on:
- How many warts were removed.
- Where on your foot the warts were.
- The type of surgery chosen.
- Your ability to heal.
It’s important to follow all instructions to prevent the possibility of infection.
Ask Your Doctor After Surgery
Your medical treatment doesn’t end when you leave the doctor’s office. Good aftercare is important. Questions to ask include:
- What to do about post-surgical pain.
- How to clean and dress the wound.
- When to resume normal activities.
- What to do if the wound doesn’t appear to be healing.
You need to know how to prevent complications and what to do if the wound doesn’t heal as expected.
How Do I Prepare for Wart Removal Surgery?
Wart removal surgery requires much the same preparation as any other outpatient surgery. You will need to tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have or medications you are taking. You will be advised as to whether you should stop your medications before the surgery. You will also be advised as to how long you avoid eating prior to your appointment.
Plantar wart surgery often means you will have to stay off your feet afterward. You may need to make arrangements for someone to drive you home and you may need to inform your employer that you will need time off.
Try to rest and relax before the surgery. Stress can increase your pain and slow your recovery time.
How Long Does It Take to Recover After Surgery?
The most important thing you can do after wart removal surgery is to follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions to prevent infection and facilitate healing. Although you may experience discomfort, it’s usually not severe enough to require more than over the counter pain relief. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
Recovery time will vary, but generally doesn’t take more than a few days. Complete healing may take up to a month. Your wound may leave a scar, or you may experience changes in the skin color.
You will need to contact your doctor if:
- You develop a fever.
- Your pain is severe.
- You have excessive bleeding.
- You have a discharge from the wound.
Although complications are rare after wart removal surgery, your medical professional needs to be made aware if any part of the recovery process doesn’t go as expected.
Many individuals have found that the benefits of wart removal surgery outweigh the risks involved. Their warts are usually gone after one treatment. The surgery can be painful and full recovery can take a long time, but getting rid of warts quickly makes it worthwhile.