Wart: Wikis


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Classification and external resources

Warts on the big toe
ICD-10 B07.
ICD-9 078.1
DiseasesDB 28410
MedlinePlus 000885
eMedicine emerg/641
MeSH D014860
A filiform wart on the eyelid.

A wart (also known as a verruca when occurring on the sole of the foot or on toes) is generally a small, rough tumor, typically on hands and feet but often other locations, that can resemble a cauliflower or a solid blister. Warts are common, and are caused by a viral infection, specifically by the human papillomavirus (HPV)[1] and are contagious when in contact with the skin of an infected person. It is also possible to get warts from using condoms or other objects used by an infected person. They typically disappear after a few months but can last for years and can recur.



A range of types of wart have been identified, varying in shape and site affected, as well as the type of human papillomavirus involved.[2][3] These include

  • Common wart (Verruca vulgaris), a raised wart with roughened surface, most common on hands, but can grow anywhere on the body;
  • Flat wart (Verruca plana), a small, smooth flattened wart, flesh-coloured, which can occur in large numbers; most common on the face, neck, hands, wrists and knees;
  • Filiform or digitate wart, a thread- or finger-like wart, most common on the face, especially near the eyelids and lips;
  • Plantar wart (verruca, Verruca pedis), a hard sometimes painful lump, often with multiple black specks in the center; usually only found on pressure points on the soles of the feet;
  • Mosaic wart, a group of tightly clustered plantar-type warts, commonly on the hands or soles of the feet;
  • Genital wart (venereal wart, Condyloma acuminatum, Verruca acuminata), a wart that occurs on the genitalia.
  • Periungual wart, a cauliflower-like cluster of warts that occurs around the nails.


Warts are caused by a virus called human papilloma virus or HPV. There are approximately 130 strains of human papilloma viruses.[4][5] Types 1, 2, and 3 cause most of the common warts.[5]

  • Type 1 is associated with deep plantar (sole of the foot) and palmar (palm of the hand) warts.
  • Type 2 causes common warts , filiform warts, plantar warts, and mosaic plantar warts.
  • Type 3 causes plane warts , commonly known as flat warts.

Anogenital warts are caused by types 6, 11, 16, 18, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 39, 40 and others.


There are many different treatments and procedures associated with wart removal. One review of 52 clinical trials of various cutaneous wart treatments concluded that topical treatments containing salicylic acid were the best supported, with an average cure rate of 75%, compared with 48% for the placebo in six placebo-controlled trials including a total of 376 participants.[10] The reviewers also concluded that there was little evidence of a significant benefit of cryotherapy over salicylic acid or duct tape.[10]

One complicating factor in the treatment of warts is that the wart may regrow after it has been removed.

Prescription medications

Two viral warts on a middle finger, being treated with a mixture of acids (like salicylic acid) to remove them. A white precipitate forms on the area where the product was applied.

Treatments that may be prescribed by a medical professional include

  • Application of podophyllum resin paint [podophyllum resin I.P.'66 (20% w/v), benzoin I.P. (10% w/v), aloes I.P. (2% w/v), isopropyl alcohol I.P. to make (100% v/v)]
  • Imiquimod, a topical cream that helps the body's immune system fight the wart virus by encouraging interferon production. Not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for common warts. The drug is very expensive.
  • Cantharidin, a chemical found naturally in many members of the beetle family Meloidae which causes dermal blistering. Either used by itself or compounded with podophyllin. Not FDA approved, but available through Canada or select US compounding pharmacies.
  • Bleomycin, not US FDA approved. One or two injections used. It can cause necrosis of digits and Raynaud syndrome.[11][12] This drug is expensive, USD $200–300 per vial.
  • Dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB), like salicylic acid, this is applied directly to the wart. Studies showed this method was effective with a cure rate of 80% compared to 38% for a placebo. But DNCB must be used much more cautiously than salicylic acid; the chemical is a known mutagen, able to cause genetic mutations. So a physician must administer DNCB. This drug induces an allergic immune response resulting in inflammation that wards off the wart-causing virus.[13]
  • Fluorouracil, which inhibits DNA synthesis, is being used as an experimental treatment. It is applied directly to the wart (especially plantar warts) and covered (for example: with tape). This treatment is combined with the use of a pumice stone, but tends to work very slowly.[14]
  • Salicylic acid can be prescribed by a dermatologist in a higher concentration than that found in over-the-counter products. Examples include a topical solution marketed by Elorac, Inc. under the trade name Durasal.


  • Keratolysis, removal of dead surface skin cells usually using salicylic acid, blistering agents, immune system modifiers ("immunomodulators"), or formaldehyde, often with mechanical paring of the wart with a pumice stone, blade etc.[15]
  • Electrodesiccation[16]
  • Cryosurgery, which involves freezing the wart (generally with liquid nitrogen), creating a blister between the wart and epidermal layer, after which the wart and surrounding dead skin falls off by itself. An average of 3 to 4 treatments are required for warts of thin skin. Warts on calloused skin like plantar warts might take dozens or more treatments.[11]
  • Surgical curettage of the wart;
  • Laser treatment - often with a pulse dye laser or carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. Pulse dye lasers (wavelength 582 nm) work by selective absorption by blood cells (specifically haemoglobin). CO2 lasers work by selective absorption by water molecules. Pulse dye lasers are less destructive and more likely to heal without scarring. CO2 laser works by vaporizing and destroying tissue and skin. Both laser treatments can be painful, expensive, and can cause scarring. CO2 lasers will require local anaesthetic, while pulse dye laser might need conscious sedation. It takes 1 to 4 treatments.[11]
  • Infrared coagulator - an intense source of infrared light in a small beam like a laser. This works essentially on the same principle as laser treatment. It is less expensive. Like the laser, it can cause blistering pain and scarring.[17]
  • Injection of Candida, mumps, or Trichophyton antigens at the site of the wart, which stimulates the body's immune system.[18] While the drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test the immune system, it is not yet approved as an effective wart treatment.


There are several over-the-counter options. The most common ones involve salicylic acid. These products are readily available at drugstores and supermarkets. There are typically two types of products: adhesive pads treated with salicylic acid or a bottle of concentrated salicylic acid solution. Removing a wart with salicylic acid requires a strict regimen of cleaning the area, applying the acid, and removing the dead skin with a pumice stone or emery board. It may take up to 12 weeks to remove a wart.

Another product available over-the-counter that can aid in wart removal is silver nitrate in the form of a caustic pencil, which is also available at drug stores. This method generally takes three to six daily treatments to be effective. The instructions must be followed to minimize staining of skin and clothing.

Cryosurgery, or Cryotherapy devices using freon refrigerants are inexpensive. A disadvantage is that the sponge applicator is too large for small warts, and the temperature achieved is not nearly as low as with liquid nitrogen. Complications include blistering of normal skin if excess freezing is not controlled.

Tagamet has also been shown to work in the removal of warts. While the exact mechanism is unknown, it is thought to heighten the state of the immune system and 'alert' the body about the wart. It seems to work better on flat warts than others. Research has shown both positive and negative results as to its effectiveness, the most being 80% effective while ingesting 30 mg/kg/day from 6–8 weeks.[19]

Duct tape occlusion therapy

Duct tape occlusion therapy (DTOT) involves placing a piece of duct tape over the wart(s) for six days, followed by soaking the area in water and scraping it with a pumice stone or emery board. There is conflicting evidence as to whether or not DTOT is an effective wart therapy.

The study cited above[20] had 9 patients lost to the follow-up from the original 61 patients entered. In contrast to the flaws (15% of subjects lost to the follow-up) and favorable results of the above study, a more stringent study of 103 children found no benefits from transparent duct tape[21]. The evaluators were blinded during treatment for the most part, a placebo (corn pad) was used and there were no patients lost to the follow-up. After six weeks, rates of wart resolution were similar in the duct tape and corn pad groups and much lower than the rates seen in the earlier trial.

A similar trial comparing duct tape with a control treatment with a moleskin pad in 90 adults also found no difference in the rate of wart resolution at the end of two months (21 versus 22 percent).[22] However, the median age in this study was 54 years, and transparent duct tape was used, which contains no rubber found in the standard gray variety.[23]


Gardasil is a vaccine aimed at preventing cervical cancers and, to a lesser degree, some genital warts. Gardasil is designed to prevent infection with HPV types 16, 18, 6, and 11. HPV types 16 and 18 currently cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases,[6][7] and also cause some vulvar, vaginal,[8] penile and anal cancers.[9] HPV types 6 and 11 cause about 90% of genital warts cases.

Other animals

See also


  1. ^ wart at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. ^ Mosby's Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary (5th edn), Anderson KN, Anderson LE, Glanze WD, eds, Mosby
  3. ^ "MedlinePlus: Warts". 2010. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/warts-and-plantar-warts-topic-overview. 
  4. ^ http://health.rutgers.edu/hpv/
  5. ^ a b Champion, R.H., et al. Rook's Textbook of Dermatology. Blackwell Science. 1998. pp. 1029-1051.
  6. ^ a b Lowy DR, Schiller JT (2006). "Prophylactic human papillomavirus vaccines.". J. Clin. Invest. 116 (5): 1167–73. doi:10.1172/JCI28607. PMID 16670757. http://www.jci.org/articles/view/JCI28607. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  7. ^ a b Muñoz N, Bosch FX, Castellsagué X, Díaz M, de Sanjose S, Hammouda D, Shah KV, Meijer CJ (2004-08-20). "Against which human papillomavirus types shall we vaccinate and screen? The international perspective.". Int J Cancer 111 (2): 278–85. 
  8. ^ a b "FDA Approves Expanded Uses for Gardasil to Include Preventing Certain Vulvar and Vaginal Cancers". 2008-09-12. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2008/ucm116945.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  9. ^ a b Cortez, Michelle Fay and Pettypiece, Shannon. "Merck Cancer Shot Cuts Genital Warts, Lesions in Men". Bloomberg News. (Bloomberg.com) 13 Nov 2008.
  10. ^ a b Gibbs S, Harvey I, Sterling JC, Stark R (2003). "Local treatments for cutaneous warts". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3): CD001781. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001781. PMID 12917913. 
  11. ^ a b c http://www.aafp.org/afp/20050815/647.html
  12. ^ Champion, R.H., et al. Rook's Textbook of Dermatology. Blackwell Science. 1998. p. 1044
  13. ^ http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0303d.shtml
  14. ^ http://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/2598
  15. ^ Warts at About.com
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ HALASZ C. L. G., Treatment of common warts using the infrared coagulator. The Journal of dermatologic surgery and oncology ISSN 0148-0812. 1994, vol. 20, no4, pp. 252-256 (21 ref.)
  18. ^ Horn TD, Johnson SM, Helm RM, Roberson PK (2005). "Intralesional immunotherapy of warts with mumps, Candida, and Trichophyton skin test antigens: a single-blinded, randomized, and controlled trial". Arch Dermatol 141 (5): 589–94. doi:10.1001/archderm.141.5.589. PMID 15897380. http://archderm.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/141/5/589. 
  19. ^ Glass, A. T., and B. A. Solomon. "Cimetidine Therapy for Recalcitrant Warts in Adults." Arch. Dermatol. 1996; 132:680�?682
  20. ^ Focht DR, Spicer C, Fairchok MP (October 2002). "The efficacy of duct tape vs cryotherapy in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (the common wart)". Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 156 (10): 971–4. PMID 12361440. http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=12361440.  lay-summary
  21. ^ de Haen M, Spigt MG, van Uden CJ, van Neer P, Feron FJ, Knottnerus A (2006). "Efficacy of duct tape vs placebo in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (warts) in primary school children". Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 160 (11): 1121–5. doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.11.1121. PMID 17088514. http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=17088514. 
  22. ^ Wenner R, Askari SK, Cham PM, Kedrowski DA, Liu A, Warshaw EM (2007). "Duct tape for the treatment of common warts in adults: a double-blind randomized controlled trial". Arch Dermatol 143 (3): 309–13. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.3.309. PMID 17372095. http://archderm.ama-assn.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=17372095. 
  23. ^ "Study: Duct tape wart cure overstated". http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-03-19-duct-tape_N.htm. 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WART (Lat. verruca), a papillary excrescence of the skin, or mucous membrane. The ordinary flat warts of the skin occur mostly upon the hands of children and young persons; a long pendulous variety occurs about the chin or neck of delicate children, and on the scalp in adults. Warts are apt to come out in numbers at a time; a crop of them suddenly appears, to disappear after a time with equal suddenness. Hence the supposed efficacy of charms. A single wart will sometimes remain when the general eruption has vanished. The liability of crops of warts runs in families. In after life a wart on the hands or fingers is usually brought on by some irritation, often repeated, even if it be slight. Warts often occur on the wrists and knuckles of slaughter-house men and of those much occupied with anatomical dissection; they are often of tuberculous origin (butchers' warts). Chimney-sweeps and workers in coal-tar, petroleum, &c., are subject to warts, which often become cancerous. Warts occur singly in later life on the nose or lips or other parts of the face, sometimes on the tongue; they are very apt to become malignant. Towards old age broad and flattened patches of warts of a greasy consistence and brownish colour often occur on the back and shoulders. They also are apt to become malignant. Indeed, warts occurring on the lip or tongue, or on any part of the body of a person advanced in life, should be suspected of malignant associations and dealt with accordingly. Venereal warts occur as the result of gonorrhoeal irritation or syphilitic infection.

A wart consists of a delicate framework of blood-vessels supported by fibrous tissue, with a covering of epidermic scales. When the wart is young, the surface is rounded; as it gets rubbed it is cleft into projecting points. The blood-vessels, whose outgrowth from the surface really makes the wart, may be in a cluster of parallel loops, as in the common sessile wart, or the vessels may branch from a single stem, making the long, pendulous warts of the chin and neck. The same kinds of warts also occur on mucous surfaces. It is owing to its vascularity that a wart is liable to come back after being shaved off; the vessels are cut down to the level of the skin, but the blood is still forced into the stem, and the branches are thrown out beyond the surface as before. This fact has a bearing on the treatment of warts, if they are snipped off, the blood-vessels of the stem should be destroyed at the same time by a hot wire or some other caustic, or made to shrivel by an astringent. The same end is served by a gradually tightening ligature (such as a thread of elastic) round the base of the wart. Glacial acetic or carbolic acid may be applied on the end of a glass rod, or by a camel-hair brush, care being taken not to touch the adjoining skin. A solution of perchloride of iron is also effective in the same way. Nitrate of silver is objectionable, owing to the black stains left by it. A simple domestic remedy, often effectual, is the astringent and acrid juice of the common stonecrop (Sedum acre) rubbed into the wart, time after time, from the freshly gathered herb. The result of these various applications is that the wart loses its firmness, shrivels up, and falls off. Malignant and tuberculous warts should be removed by the scalpel or sharp spoon, their bases, if thought advisable, being treated by pure carbolic acid.

A peculiar form of wart, known as verrugas, occurs endemically in the Andes. It is believed to have been one of the causes of the excessive mortality from haemorrhages of the skin among the troops of Pizarro. Attention was called to it by Dr Archibald Smith in 1842; in 1874, during the making of the Trans-Andean railway, it caused considerable loss of life among English navvies and engineers. (E. 0.*)

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Old English wearte, from Proto-Germanic *wartōn-. Cognate with Dutch wrat, German Warze, Swedish vårta.





wart (plural warts)

  1. (pathology) A type of deformed growth occurring on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also



From German wert.



wart m. (not comparable)

  1. worth

Simple English

Warts are growths on the skin. They are caused by a virus in the HPV family. They can be on the hands, feet, genital areas, or inside the mouth. Medication can be bought at a pharmacy to remove them but usually they will go away on their own. Warts are usually not dangerous to a person's health but they can be passed to other people.

Types of warts

There are different types of warts, caused by different HPV viruses:

  • common wart: a wart standing out, with a rough surface, usually occurs on hands or knees.
  • flat wart: A small smooth flattened wart,which can occur in large numbers. Most common on the face, neck, hands, wrists and knees;
  • filiform or digitate wart: These warts look like threads or fingers. Most common on the face, especially near the eyelids and lips;
  • plantar wart: A hard sometimes painful lump, often with many black dots in the center; usually only found on pressure points on the soles of the feet;
  • mosaic wart: Many panar warts close together. Usually on the hands or soles of the feet
  • genital wart A wart that occurs on the genitals.

Getting rid of warts

The most common means of wart removal are available at pharmacies: These over the counter drugs are eiither special pads that contain salicylic acid, or as a solution that contains it. Getting rid of a wart that way involves cleaning the area around the wart, and treating it with the salicylic acid. This will slowly kill wart tissue. Dead tissue can then be scraped off. Getting rid of a wart that way can take up to 12 weeks.

Some prescription drugs are available. They usually contain salicylic acid in higher concentrations. Chloroacetic acid or Silver nitrate are sometimes used.

Special surgery can be done to remove warts. Sometimes this can be very painful. It cannot be done with all warts.

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