Everybody, from school children on can recognize a wart. The ones on the bottom of the feet are a bit tricky and are called Plantar warts. They are hard and thick, callous, and feel like a painful pebble in the shoe. Kids can get cauliflower-like, fleshy growths on their hands and fingers, around their fingernails, on the face and eyelids, and on their elbows, and knees. Sometimes skin tags and various moles can be mistaken for them and vice-versa. Adult patients can get them in more private places, which will be covered later.

Warts are usually caused by the HPV or Human Papilloma Virus. There are over 130 Human Papilloma Virus strains thus far discovered. Most of the human wart infections are caused by HPV 1, 2, and 3. These are spread to an uninfected person essentially by direct or indirect contact with an infected person. HPV is a rather sturdy and can remain on a floor, a towel, or a wrestling mat for the uninfected to come in contact with. Genital warts are likewise a skin to skin spread infection. Catching a wart virus has to do with one’s immunity as well. One child in the household may have warts and none of the other family members develop them. A current vaccine, is available to boost immunity to HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18. It is used to prevent cervical cancer that has been linked to HPV in women. The HPV vaccine is currently recommended for women ages 9-26. Since HPV can be spread through sexual contact, the vaccine has recently been approved by the FDA for males in the age range. It is though that vaccinating both male and female patients will further decrease the spread of this potentially deadly HPV.

The warts can come in many shapes and sizes. The plantar wart is most often caused by HPV. Common and filiform types are usually on a thread-like strand or stalk and are caused by HPV 2. Other flat ones, like the ones kids often get on their elbows and knees, are caused by HPV3.

A number of medical options may be prescribed. One is to prescribe salicylic acid plasters to be changed every day. This causes the pathology to gradually shrink in size. However the normal tissue surrounding the wart can get inflamed, red, painful and can lead to many other problems. The ones on the hands seem to respond favorably to electrocautery or freezing. Plantar warts are a bit trickier. They usually have to be shrunk in layers, as with salicylic acid plasters, and gradually cored out because they tend to be on a deep stalk. Sometimes a laser can be used to destroy the abnormal tissue. See your MD to discuss your options.

Anogenital warts are a different problem. These are usually caused by HPV 6 and 11, and can lead to cancer in the anus, cervix, or other infected areas. They could be treated with topical substances which stir up the body’s immune system to the affected area. One such substance is 20% Podophyllin in benzoin which is painted on at intervals as tolerated. But again the problem is painful damage to surrounding tissue with the acid. Often a person has to have surgical removal if these warts grow too large or too numerous. This can be followed with laser or electrocautery treatments. Care must be taken to look for any underlying or developing cancer in these lesions. See your MD as this can be a very serious condition.

A final type of HPV which needs to be mentioned is HPV 16 and 18. This is the specific kind of HPV which causes cervical cancer, and is spread by sexual contact. There may be 3 – 5 others not specifically yet proven but are highly symptomatic of causing cervical cancer. For the average person they may be embarrassing, irritating, and require treatment. The body’s immune system will cause many to regress and go resolve by themselves, however, some can last many years and lead to further complications. It is good advice to practice hygienic habits to prevent the spread of this virus. If they do occur, there are many treatments that your doctor can tailor to your particular lifestyle or preference.

John Drew Laurusonis, M.D.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Laurusonis was conferred his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1983 and has been actively taking care of patients since completing his Internal Medicine residency in 1987 in the Garden State of New Jersey. Dr. Laurusonis has been licensed in four states but ultimately chose to permanently relocate to Georgia with his family and begin a private practice. Through his extensive experience in Internal Medicine, as well as in Emergency Rooms throughout the United States, Dr. Laurusonis saw how traditional Emergency Rooms were often overwhelmed by patients suffering medical conditions that were urgent but may not need the traditional “Level I Trauma Center”. Patients often waited six to twelve hours to be seen by a physician, were riddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills, and were generally unhappy with the system.
Dr. Laurusonis decided to open an Urgent Care Center instead of a 9-5 doctor's office. Through the last fifteen years he has received accolades from the community and his patients. He has expanded his practice to include many cosmetic therapies that have previously been treated with painful and extensive plastic surgery. He has been invited to the White House numerous times, has been named Physician of the Year from GA, as seen in the Wall Street Journal, and has served as Honorary Co-Chairman on the Congressional Physicians Advisory Board
Dr. Laurusonis and his practice, Doctors Medical Center, is open 7 days a week from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm offering such services as lab, x-ray, EKGs, aesthetics (Botox, dermabrasion, sclerotheraby and veins etc.), cold/flu, sore throats, fractures, sprains, lacerations, GYN, Pediatrics, Phlebology Anxiety/Insomnia/Depression Treatment, skin tag/mole removal, veins, allergies, asthma, physicals--just to name a few. Dr. Laurusonis welcomes you to either make an appointment or just walk-in to see him. Dr. Laurusonis will take the time to speak with you about your concerns--no problem is too big or too small. If you need additional services we have specialist referrals available or we can refer you to the neighborhood hospital emergency room. Give Doctors Medical Center a call--Dr. Laurusonis will be happy to speak with you.

John Drew Laurusonis, MD
Doctors Medical Center
3455 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Suite 110
Duluth, GA 30096