Electrosurgery and curettage for warts

Electrosurgery is a procedure that involves burning the skin that contains a wart. This is done with an electrical charge sent through the tip of a needle, drying and burning off the wart tissue. The skin around the wart must first be numbed with a painful local anesthetic injection.

Electrosurgery can be used for a single wart or a few warts but not for large areas of warts. It often leaves a scar, and warts can return after treatment.

Curettage is the surgical removal (scraping or cutting) of wart tissue using a scalpel or a small, sharp, spoon-shaped tool. This procedure may be painful and can cause scarring. Curettage usually requires local anesthetic, except in the case of filiform warts, which have only a small connection to the skin. Curettage is a quick treatment to remove warts, but recurrence of warts is common.

Electrosurgery and curettage are sometimes used together to treat large warts and increase the chance of successful wart removal.

Last Updated: September 11, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology

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