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laser can be used to destroy
Laser surgery may be done
in a doctor's office or clinic, a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center.
Local or general anesthetic may be used depending on
the number of warts to be removed or the size of the area to be treated.
For women, abnormal cervical cell changes caused by HPV will be treated
differently than genital warts caused by HPV. Your doctor may recommend certain
types of surgery, such as laser surgery. To learn more about surgical
methods to treat abnormal cell changes, see the topic
Abnormal Pap Test.
Recovery time depends on the location
and number of warts removed. Healing usually occurs in 2 to 4 weeks.
For men and women who have had laser surgery, call
your doctor if you have any of the following:
Avoid sexual intercourse until the treated area heals and
the soreness is gone (usually 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the size of the area
Laser surgery may be done
In studies, laser surgery removed
warts in about 20 to 40 out of 100 people. But warts may return after surgery.1
Laser surgery is a safe treatment for pregnant
Laser surgery may cause any of the
Doctors usually use laser surgery
for genital warts after other treatments have failed. Laser surgery for the
treatment of genital warts is more expensive than many other treatment
There are concerns that laser treatment may increase the
risk of having warts return by destroying the local immune system, which allows
inactive viruses to become active.
Laser surgery requires
specialized training and equipment. Some experts believe that the skill of the
doctor doing the laser surgery affects surgical success. People
thinking about laser surgery for genital warts should ask the doctor how many
times he or she has done this procedure and what his or her success
Warts that are difficult to treat may be managed by adding
other treatments, such as fluorouracil. Genital warts may be treated with
fluorouracil before or after laser surgery.
An advantage of laser surgery is that adjacent and deep
tissue is not damaged during laser treatment.
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. 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 doctor.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Bonnez W, Reichman RC (2010).
Papillomaviruses. In GL Mandell et al., eds., Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 7th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2035–2049.
Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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