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genital warts on the penis, vulva, or around the anus
by burning them with a low-voltage electrified probe.
Electrocautery is usually done in a doctor's office or
a clinic. The injection of a numbing medicine (local anesthetic) is usually used for pain control. Medicine that causes
unconsciousness (general anesthetic) may be used
depending on the number of warts to be removed or destroyed.
The recovery time depends on the
location and number of warts removed.
Electrocautery removes warts with
little blood loss. It usually is used for small areas of warts.
In one study, electrocautery was
effective for about 8 out of 10 people in removing warts and stopping them from coming back 6
months after treatment. Warts are less likely to return after electrocautery
than after medicine treatment.footnote 1
removal of genital warts may not cure a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
The virus may remain in the body in an inactive state after warts are
Risks of electrocautery are:
Electrocautery for external genital
warts can be safely used during pregnancy.
Treating genital warts
may not cure a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. The virus may remain in
the body in an inactive state after warts are removed. A person treated for
genital warts may still be able to spread the infection. Latex condoms may help
reduce the risk of HPV infection.
The benefits and effectiveness
of each type of treatment need to be compared with the side effects and cost.
Discuss this with your health professional.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Buck HW (2010). Warts (genital), search date December 2009. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofJuly 28, 2016
Current as of:
July 28, 2016
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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