Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a ubiquitous virus that causes recurrent skin papillomas or warts. These growths can be disfiguring and recurrent, and are a common cause of medical visits. Over 20% of school children have cutaneous warts, and the prevalence decreases with age. Unfortunately, this viral infection is contagious, and family members and friends often spread the infection amongst each other.
There are over 100 DNA subtypes of the HPV virus, and the subtypes often manifest differently. While HPV types 1-7 cause common palmoplantar warts, HPV 6, 11, 16 and 18 cause genital warts. Most warts are not precancerous; however, certain HPV infections do have oncogenic or carcinogenic potential, so it is important to get these lesions evaluated and treated if necessary. Prompt treatment minimizes spread of the virus both on the patient, as well as to his or her close contacts.
At Fairfield Dermatology, we treat the wart as effectively as possible, while preserving cosmetic appearance and minimizing pain. Usually treatment involves a combination of topical medications as well as physical modalities, including liquid nitrogen, laser, and desiccation. Patients should anticipate multiple visits to conquer this stubborn infection.