Local News

Laser Treatment Being Used To Get Rid Of Warts

Posted April 22, 2005 2:10 a.m. EDT

— Researchers have a quick way to get rid of problem warts that involves less pain.

With every step, Jan Kempke feels pain.

"It feels like you have a little pebble in the bottom of your foot and it's just annoying," she said.

Kempke has had plantar wart problems for the past 15 years. She and her podiatrist, Dr. Andy Milner, have tried everything.

"He's been giving me creams. We've worked on trying to remove them by scraping them down and it just doesn't work," Kempke said.

For stubborn warts surrounded by thick-calloused skin, one option remains -- the Pulse Dye Laser.

The laser technology has been around for years for things like removing unwanted birth marks or spider veins. It is now being used for the treatment of plantar warts, which in most instances, can be done in just one visit.

"I've been told that it's painless," Kempke said.

With blinding, fraction-of-a-second bursts, the laser kills the capillaries that feed blood to the wart. The laser burns, but a super cold blast of air blows away the pain.

"It's minimally painful. It feels like a rubber band snap," podiatrist Dr. Bill Niemi said.

Niemi recommends over-the-counter treatments with salicylic acid first, but for stubborn warts, acids and cremes could take two to six months of regular application. With just a few minutes of laser treatment, the virus that caused Kempke's warts will die.

Right after treatment, Kempke is back on her feet. In four to six weeks, the warts will slough off and the annoying pebble-in-the-shoe pain will be gone.

Health insurance typically covers Pulse Dye Laser treatments. Warts can spread quickly, often when people try to file down or clip a wart and then re-use the file or clipper.