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July 1992

Controlled Localized Heat Therapy in Cutaneous Warts

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Dermatology, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson.

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(7):945-948. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680170077010

• Background.—  Controlled localized heating as a method of superficial tissue destruction has been used in veterinary medicine for the treatment of benign and malignant tumors. The rationale for its use is that the diseased tissue being treated is more sensitive to the effects of heating than is normal tissue. This technology was applied to the treatment of common hand warts in a placebo-controlled study.

Observations.—  Twenty-nine warts were treated one to four times (median, two times) at 50°C for 30 to 60 seconds. Twenty-five (86%) of 29 treated verrucae regressed completely while seven (41%) of 17 control warts resolved during the course of the study. No wart that regressed regrew during the follow-up period (mean, 15.6 weeks).

Conclusions.—  Controlled localized heating can cause the regression of hand warts. The 86% regression rate compares favorably with other wart treatment modalities. The mechanism of action and the effect of heat on these virally induced tumors is not known but may involve direct antiviral effects, physical destruction of the tumor, or the promotion of an inflammatory response that ultimately eradicates the lesion.(Arch Dermatol. 1992;128:945-948)