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Viral warts

Warts are caused by a viral infection - the Human Papillomavirus.  They are common, most often affecting children and younger adults, and are found on the hands and feet.  Wart paints can be bought at pharmacies or supermarkets and will get rid of warts for most people.  Treatment usually has to be tried for at least 8 weeks for it to work.

Occasionally Viral Warts can be stubborn, and wart paints don't help.  A course of Cryotherapy (Freezing) will sometimes help.  Cryotherapy is more suitable for hand warts, as they respond better.  It is very painful to treat feet warts with Cryotherapy.  It is best to see a Podiatrist for warts on the feet, as they are able to offer alternative treatments that are less painful to help get rid of the warts.


Cryotherapy involves having a very cold spray directed on to the Viral Wart, turning it into an ice-ball.  Cryotherapy for hand warts is painful, and is not suitable for children under the age of 12 years.  After Cryotherapy, the Viral Wart and the surrounding skin swells up, becomes red and may even blister.  The treated area is sore for a day or so.  For most people, the Viral Wart starts to get smaller in size after about 2 weeks, and may even disappear.  If the Viral Wart persists after Cryotherapy, we recommend that wart paints are restarted and used for about 6 weeks before having a second treatment with Cryotherapy.  Viral Warts can be stubborn, and some people need to have repeated treatments with Cryotherapy before they go away. 

Once the Viral Wart has gone, there may be a small white or pink scar at the treated area,. This is more likely if multiple Cryotherapy treatments were needed to remove the wart. The scar will usually fade over time.  Unfortunately, Viral Warts may recur after Cryotherapy - or any type of treatment - as they are due to a viral infection which is difficult to eradicate.  


Please click on the links below to read the Patient Information Leaflet on Viral Warts:

New Zealand Academy of Dermatology

Please click on the link below to read the Patient Information Leaflet on Cryotherapy:

British Association of Dermatologists

Please click here to book an appointment and to see the Price List for Cryotherapy

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