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What To Expect After Wart Surgery

What to Expect After Wart Removal

You've talked to your doctor about getting rid of your warts. You've tried different over-the-counter or home remedies. You realize they will not go away with anything that you have tried and now it is our turn! Your biggest question is what does it take to get rid of a wart?

There are several different ways to get rid of a wart.  You may have already discussed the options for wart removal and which options are best suited to your life style.  Your doctor may try a combination of several approaches based on your input.  I will go through these options again to help clarify your choices

 

Wart Excision

This procedure literally involves cutting out the wart.  This is done under local anesthesia and can be performed at the office.  This usually works best on small warts in size or in number since a rim or margin around the wart must be excised as well to help reduce the risk of the wart spreading.

Dressing: A topical antimicrobial ointment or gel followed by a soft, dressing is placed on your foot. You should keep this clean and dry until the next day, then you may change the dressing daily using only the ointment or gel prescribed by your doctor.

Weight-bearing: You may be placed in a flat surgical shoe, depending on your particular surgery. You may bear weight to your comfort level.  Some patients may have more discomfort depending on the location of the wart.  Should you have a wart removed in a prominent weight bearing area such as the heel or the ball of the foot, you may need the use of crutches.

Pain management: Usually, Tylenol or Advil is plenty to allevate the discomfort associated with this prodecure.  Narcotic pain medication may be dispensed, however, depending on the size of the wart. This is usually a codeine based narcotic like Norco or Vicodin. For those patients that are allergic to codeine, Tramadol is commonly used. All narcotics will make you a little sleepy and goofy, or in some cases, actually wired. They may also upset your stomach and make you constipated. Your surgeon may have to prescribe you an anti-nausea medication like Phenergan or Zofran. If you are itching all over, you are having a codeine reaction and should call your doctor.

Post-operative appointments: Every doctor has their own protocols when it comes to post-operative follow up visits. You should talk to your doctor about their specific protocols.  You will most certainly have an appointment scheduled for follow up.

Realistic Expectations: A wart is a virus, and like any virus, it is not easy to get rid of.  Most recurrences will happen within a year of resolution. 

 

Cryotherapy

You may have heard and even tried the over-the-counter freeze sprays to get rid of your wart.  This stuff may penetrate through the smaller superficial warts found on fingers or the top parts of your feet, hands or on the body.  The warts on the bottom of the feet run deeper because the skin in this area is thicker and develops callus.  Your doctor will use a much stronger freeze therapy (cryotherapy) on those resistant warts and several treatments will be required.  Some times additional topical treatment in the form of a mild acid or an anti-viral cream is needed depending on the appearance of the wart.

Dressing: A band aid is usually protective enough after cryotherapy. If it starts to drain or the area blisters, you should apply an over-the-counter topical antimicrobial ointment (preferably Bacitracin ointment).  If the blister is uncomfortable, soak a needle in rubbing alcohol for 15 minutes, then puncture the blister on the sides of the blister allowing the fluid to escape.  Leave the top of the blister intact.  It will act like Mother Nature's band aid!

Weight-bearing: You may wear a regular shoe or sandal to your comfort.

Pain management: Cryotherapy does not produce any long lasting discomfort and pain medication should not be needed.  If there is any lingering discomfort, Tylenol Motrin or Advil should suffice.

Post-operative appointments: Every doctor has their own protocols when it comes to follow up visits. You should talk to your doctor about their specific protocols.  You will most certainly have an appointment scheduled for follow up.

Realistic Expectations: A wart is a virus, and like any virus, it is not easy to get rid of.  Most recurrences will happen within a year of resolution. 

We are constantly researching the literature for the latest in wart treatments.  If we find other options, we will certainly offer them to you as well!