Aim: Warts are difficult to treat and none of the several modes of treatment suggested for their cure has been proven to be the most effective. We evaluated the efficacy of a modification of the CO2 laser technique for recalcitrant warts in pediatric patients. Patients and Methods: During a period of 5 years, 40 consecutive pediatric patients (average age: 12.7 ± 2.8 years) were treated by CO2 laser for 54 recalcitrant warts. Previous treatments were caustic and/or surgical procedures (average 2.7 procedures). Local anesthesia or digital block was performed in all patients, with intravenous sedation in two patients. The laser was used at 5 W in super-pulse mode throughout the procedure. The skin was cut with the focused laser beam in a circular fashion, about 5 mm around the wart, until all the layers of the skin down to the subcutaneous tissue were penetrated. The lesion was drawn aside and excised, using the laser beam as a scalpel. No curettage was used. The base of the wart was then vaporized with the laser in a defocused fashion, until a clean surgical field was obtained. Follow-up was weekly up to 1 month, and at 3, 6, and 12 months. Results: Warts were located on fingers (24 cases), in the plantar area (10 cases), on hands (9 cases), knees, and legs (4 cases each), arms (2 cases) and elbow (1 case). Twenty-seven patients (67.5%) had a solitary wart and the other 13 children had multiple warts (up to 6) at one or more locations. Fingers were the most common location of multiple warts (10 cases). All patients underwent the procedure in one session. No case of intractable operative bleeding, local infection, or prolonged exudative drainage was encountered. One patient complained of severe transient postoperative pain. The healing time was 4 to 5 weeks. At 12 months, there was no recurrence of the warts. No significant or disabling scarring was noticed, but hypopigmentation was noted in 11 cases (27.5%). Conclusion: This technique provides a high success rate with minimal side effects and is well tolerated by young patients.
- Carbon dioxide laser