Specialist verruca and wart treatment using microwaves
Warts are an infection of the skin caused by a virus known as the Human Papilloma Virus. The infection is usually picked up in areas where people walk barefoot. They can occur on any area of the skin but the most common places are the hands and feet. Warts can appear at any age but most commonly we see them in children of school age and young adults. Warts will naturally disappear within two years of their appearance but a proportion of these will persist for longer, particularly in adults causing distress, discomfort and pain.
Here at the Chiropody Surgery, we are very proud to be the first in the world to offer a new type of treatment for warts using microwave energy. Following successful trials conducted through the University of Southampton and at podiatry practices in the United Kingdom, we are pleased to be able to offer this treatment to our patients.
The system we use is called SWIFT, which is a new British technology which uses microwaves to help destroy the wart (or verruca) tissue. The microwaves are delivered through a 7mm probe applied to the skin into the wart. The advantage of the treatment is that is rapid - taking just 5 seconds. As microwaves travel a few millimetres into the skin it doesnt cause skin breakage so there is no need for a dressing afterwards. Normally up to three or four treatments are required but some resolve sooner.
A persistant verruca that was treated with SWIFT microwave at week 1, week 8 and at their final review.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is SWIFT?
Swift is a new technology, developed in the UK, which has been licenced for the treatment of skin lesions and warts/verrucae. Swift is a device which uses microwave energy which is delivered into the skin through a special probe applied to the skin to destroy the affected tissue.
Does it hurt?
Like some treatments for warts, there is some discomfort involved. Before treatment your podiatrist may decide to reduce the wart with a blade. This is generally painless, although when treated in this way, warts will naturally bleed.
Pain levels very from person to person but most people undergoing Swift liken it to a pain similar to an injection or a scratch, lasting two to three seconds then quickly subsiding. In some cases, the treated are may feel sore for a few hours but not normally enough to prevent you undertaking normal daily activities. For a small number of patients, the pain may be prolonged for a day or two after treatment. Patients are advised in these circumstances to take a painkillers similar to those they would take for a headache.
What happens after treatment?
The treatment takes a few seconds and following this you may need a small dressing or but do not need to take any particular precautions after treatment. Warts may darken, develop a small blood blister or have more dark spots appear after the treatment (this can happen up to two weeks after).
Can I still go swimming and do other things afterwards?
As mentioned above, for some people, the treated warts(s) may feel sore for a day or two after treatment but otherwise this should not stop you doing the things you would normally do such as walking, swimming and other sports.
How many treatments will I need?
This is dependent on how your wart responds to treatment. In most cases, you may need more than one treatment (normally about 4 weeks apart). If after three treatments your wart remains, you may be advised to discontinue treatment or switch to an alternative treatment. Your podiatrist will be able to discuss this with you.
Do you treat warts on other parts of the body?
We treat warts on the foot (also known as verrucae) and on the hands.
Will it get rid of my wart?
Warts, especially on the foot, are notoriously difficult to get rid of in adults and may require a few attempts at a treatment before abandoning it. No treatment can be guaranteed 100% successful and it cannot be guaranteed that Swift (or any other treatment will work for every patient). Of course, the treatment may reduce the lesion size or the level of pain you were feeling before the treatment from the wart.
Can anyone receive this treatment?
Most people with warts on their feet would be able to have this treatment with a few exceptions. If you are considering treatment with Swift, it will be necessary for the podiatrist to carry out an assessment in order to advise you if you are suitable for the treatment. Young children may be unsuitable for this treatment owing to the discomfort involved.
I am interested – what do I do next?
If you would like to discuss this further, please call the clinic on the number below for an assessment appointment. You will then be booked for an assessment appointment with the podiatrist. They will be able to assess your feet and advise you if you are suitable for treatment as well as suggesting the treatment plan which is best for you. They can also give you an idea on the likelihood of success. This will also give you any opportunities to ask questions about the treatment. Of course, you are under no obligation to have the treatment and your podiatrist can advise you on other treatments if Swift is not for you. Please call for current prices.
If you have persistant verrucae and have tried other treatments, then SWIFT might be a suitable alternative for you. As with all treatments, success is not 100% guaranteed. Please contact the surgery if you would like a consultation to discuss if SWIFT is suitable for you.