Warts

Most are harmless

Warts are benign tumors that commonly involve the skin and other epithelial tissues. Other than being a nuisance, most warts are harmless and go away on their own.

Warts are skin infections caused by viruses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. They can affect any area of the body, but tend to invade warm, moist places, like small cuts or scratches on the fingers, hands, and feet. Warts are usually painless unless they're on the soles of the feet or another part of the body that gets bumped or touched all the time.

The dermatologist may decide to remove a wart if it's painful or interferes with activities because of the discomfort. There are various ways of removing warts, including: applying over-the-counter or prescription medications to the wart; burning off the wart using a light electrical current; freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen (called cryosurgery); or using laser treatment (with recalcitrant warts).

Warts are generally classified by their clinical features and morphology (e.g., common, flat, filiform) or by location (e.g., genital, plantar, respiratory papillomatosis).

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