Plantar Warts: Using Laser Treatments Over Traditional Therapies
Verrucae, such as plantar warts, are hyperkeratotic lesions caused by HPV infection occurring on the skin. They are seen in 5-20% of children to young adults, peaking in prevalence during the teen years. While they are generally a benign occurrence, patients report quality of life concerns. Treatment options are often lengthy and provide incomplete results, with recurrence frequently experienced. Common treatments include topical salicylic acid, topical imiquimod, bleomycin injections, cryotherapy, surgical excision, and electrocautery.
A recent review study examined the effectiveness of using laser therapy, specifically neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) laser treatment, for the direct, targeted treatment of warts. After reviewing prospective clinical trials, retrospective studies, and case reports that used Nd:YAG laser on warts, the authors found that these treatments, especially the long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser, resulted in the successful clearance of verrucae with higher clearance rates than traditional treatments. Clearance rates for cryotherapy, imiquimod, and cantharidin are reported as 63–69, 56, and 80%, respectively. Use of the laser resulted in clearance rates ranging from 69-100%, with recurrence rates below 10% in the studies reviewed.
The Nd:YAG laser is preferred for its deeper penetrating 1064-nm wavelength, which allows for direct contact with warts while lowering the risk of pigmentation in dark skin types. The author concludes that the use of Nd:YAG on verrucae is effective, as established through randomized controlled trials and case series. Further, the Nd:YAG laser is superior to cryotherapy for treatment of verrucae.
Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C
Posted: July 20, 2017
Source: Springer Link
Adapted from the original article.