Laser Treatment FOR VERRUCAE/WARTS: Frequently Asked Questions

Is it painful?

Everyone’s pain threshold is different.  Some people easily tolerate laser treatment for warts/verrucae and are happy to undergo treatment with just the cooler (unit used with the laser to drastically cool the skin providing a more comfortable treatment).  I always recommend local anaesthesia to areas under the foot and on the hands. Laser treatment for warts can be painful and therefore it is not recommended as a treatment option for young children.  The youngest person treated with laser for warts was 13 and tolerated it well without a local anaesthetic.

What is the anaesthetic like?

Local anaesthesia is used similar to what is used when you have a filling at the dentist.  The injection is straightforward and numbs the area to be treated. 

If the wart to be treated is under the foot then a tibial block is used sometimes alongside a sural block (numbs the whole of the bottom of the foot).  Other areas are locally infiltrated with anaesthetic such as on the arms or hands/fingers.

Can I drive afterwards?

Car Insurance is invalidated if you drive with a local anaesthesia in the foot for obvious reasons.  However, the anaesthetic usually wears off after a couple of hours so it is advised that someone collects you from the clinic or you take a taxi home.

Is it painful after laser treatment?

It can be depending on how large the verrucae/warts are and if they are on weight bearing areas such as under the sole of your foot.  Padding is applied after treatment and supplied but most people have no more problems than with other verrucae/wart treatments such as acid or cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen).

Do I have to keep pads on and dry?

A dressing is applied to the area that has undergone laser treatment immediately after the treatment.  It can be removed the same evening/next day.  It is recommended that padding is left in situ if the area treated is weight bearing.

Can I resume normal activity?

It is advised that you don’t exercise, that you avoid hot baths/showers/hot water bottles at least for 2 days.  The laser works to coagulate the blood vessels that are feeding the warts/verrucae and exercise/heat will increase the blood supply which can undo the treatment.

How often do I have to come?

Initially two laser treatments are booked two weeks apart.  Your podiatrist will decide on the best treatment plan with regards to reviewing the area treated post laser.

What about very large warts/verrucae?

Laser works very well with large and small verrucae/warts.  Larger warts are treated in part depending on their size. This is done to help to reduce the risk of tissue breakdown.

What is tissue breakdown?

Sometimes the skin can react to the treatment and ‘ulcerate’.  This is not uncommon and is managed as part of the laser treatment.  This is also a common result of all the other treatments used for warts/verrucae with liquid nitrogen or acids.

The area is allowed to heal and most often the wart/verrucae will have resolved or reduced in size as a result.  Most laser treatments for warts/verrucae do not cause tissue breakdowns but it can happen.

Can I have more than one area treated at the same time?

Yes, but I would not advise anaesthetising both feet at the same time.  If both feet have verrucae/warts they can be treated in tandem with appointments.

What does ‘laser’ treatment mean?

Laser treatment is a sophisticated application; it is ‘light amplification of stimulated emission of radiation’