genital warts on the penis or vagina or around the
anus are removed by excision, which means cutting the warts off with a surgical
knife (scalpel). Warts on the cervix may be removed by laser or loop
electrosurgical excision (LEEP).
The procedure is usually done in
a doctor's office or clinic or an outpatient surgery center. You receive
medicine that numbs the area around the warts (local anesthetic). Stitches (sutures) usually close the incisions.
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 surgical excision. To learn more about
surgical methods to treat abnormal cell changes, see the topic
Abnormal Pap Test.
What To Expect After Surgery
Recovery time depends on the location
and number of warts removed.
Most people will be able to return to normal
activities within 1 to 3 days.
Healing takes 2 to 4
Scarring may occur.
For men and women who have had
genital warts removed, call your doctor for any of the following:
Bleeding that lasts longer than 1
yellowish discharge, which may indicate an infection
Avoid sexual intercourse until the treated area heals and
soreness is gone (usually 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the size of the area
Why It Is Done
Surgery is used to remove warts that
return after other treatments. It also may be used when warts are widespread. A
single treatment may be all that is needed.
How Well It Works
Surgery may be an effective
treatment. But surgery may cause more pain than other treatments.footnote 1
Risks of surgery are:
Infection. You may
receive antibiotics at the time of the procedure, to reduce the risk of
Pain. You may need medicine for several days after the
What To Think About
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. Condoms may help reduce the risk of HPV
The benefits and effectiveness of each type of
treatment need to be compared with the side effects and cost. Discuss this with
Buck HW (2010). Warts (genital), search date December 2009. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.