Filiform Warts Overview

Treating Filiform Warts

Because filiform warts often manifest on the face, medical professionals advise against the use of over-the-counter wart removal products that can damage fragile neck and facial tissues. Doctors recommend several other effective treatments for removing filiform warts.

Salicylic acids can be applied to the skin to get rid of wards. These acids are thought to prompt the body's immune system to fight off the virus [source: The Merck Manual]. When the skin becomes irritated, the body sends white blood cells to combat the virus. This method can require several applications to achieve complete wart removal, so doctors often favor other methods in order to protect the delicate skin where most filiform warts grow.

In cryotherapy, liquid nitrogen is applied to the infected skin to freeze off the wart. The freezing causes a blister to form. To prevent infection, the blister can be covered with a bandage, and after a week, the patient can remove the dead skin. Generally, cryotherapy requires one to four treatments over the course of one or more weeks to remove all traces of the wart [source: WebMD]. Similar to cryotherapy (but less cold), Cantharidin is an application that causes your skin to blister. Once the blister dries up, the doctor removes the dead wart tissue [source: The Mayo Clinic].

If you've got a stubborn wart, minor surgery could do the trick. This involves a doctor using a scalpel or electric needle and a local anesthetic to remove the wart. Surgical removal is quick and may only require one treatment. However, depending on the size of the wart, scarring may occur [source: The Mayo Clinic].

Laser removal is another form of surgical removal in which a directed laser beam is used to remove the wart tissue. This option can be expensive and usually leaves a scar, so it's reserved for warts that are especially difficult to remove [source: The Mayo Clinic].

With the treatment options available today, warts need not be a permanent cause for concern. To treat and remove filiform warts, you only need to phone your doctor to discuss several viable options.

To learn more, visit the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


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  • The "Common Warts: Treatment and Drugs." (Accessed August 4, 2009)
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  • Peace Health. "Warts and Plantar Warts." (Accessed August 4, 2009)
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  • University of Toronto. "Warts: What Are Warts?" (Accessed August 4, 2009)!/Skin-Health-Information/Warts.htm
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  • WebMD. "Cryotherapy for Warts." (Accessed August 4, 2009)