Verruca (Verruca Pedis) is a very common complaint. Though usually painless, they can often be unsightly and often painful if on an area of pressure.
Verrucae are a skin infection which attack the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis) and cause visible lesions to the skin. They usually appear as a visible raised area of hard skin with an irregular boarder and have black dots (blood vessels) spread throughout. This virus is contagious and can be spread through a portal of entry.
The only way a verruca can be successfully treated is if every cell is destroyed. The only way this can be done is through an antibody response. For the same reason that we cannot cure the common cold and flu, we cannot cure verrucae but the immune system can. That is when verruca needing is useful.
Verruca Needling is a minor surgical procedure which involves the use of a fine needle to puncture the verruca lesion and dermo epiderdermal junction multiple times under local anaesthesia tibial block. The aim is to implant infected cells into the dermis layer, therefor stimulating an immune response and destruction of the virus.
Once the procedure has been completed a simple dressing is applied. This must be kept dry for 24-48 hours. After 48 hours showering is permitted. There may be some slight discomfort for the first couple of days and pain relief may be taken as long as it is not aspirin based.
One huge advantage over other treatments, such as cryosurgery and caustics (silver nitrate and salicylic acid) is that only one session of verruca needling is usually needed. If you have multiple lesions then still the only 'primary lesion' needs to be treated as a systemic immune response is initiated. There is no evidence that suggests using this technique can further spread the virus.
There are few contraindications as verruca needling does not destroy skin tissue but, as with all procedures, the outcomes are influenced by your general health and medical history.
At Polegate Podiatry and Health Clinic we do offer cryotherapy and caustic therapy which are a lot less intrusive to verruca needling. The aim of the treatment is the same, triggering the immune system to recognise and destroy the virus. However, success rates are a lot lower.
Recent studies have shown that verruca needling has a success rate of approximately 69%. As with all verruca treatments results cannot be guaranteed.
Important Information for the Day of Verruca Needling
- You will need to make arrangements for getting a lift home with someone as you will not be covered by your car insurance to drive for 12 hours.
- You will need to inform the podiatrist of any changes to you medication or changes in your health.
- You should not require any time off work.
- The anaesthetic should start to wear off in two to three hours but do not be concerned if it takes a little longer as the effects vary from person to person
-The site of the procedure will be checked one week later to check healing
-A followup appointment 16-20 weeks later will be carried out to see how treatment has progressed and what the outcome is
-Should there be a need for another needling session after 4 month duration, a nominal fee will be offered