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Electrocautery Wart Removal

What is it?

  • Electrocautery (e-lek-tro-kaw-ter-e) is a way to remove a wart using heat from electricity. The electricity is used to heat the needle which is put on the wart. The electricity is not sent into your body. Electrocautery can also be used to remove other growths on your skin.
  • Tell your caregiver if you have a pacemaker for your heart before having electrocautery. Usually the wart or growth will go away after one electrocautery treatment. Electrocautery usually leaves behind a wound which may take 1 to 6 weeks to heal. The time it takes the wound to heal depends on the size of the wart. Bigger warts take longer to heal. But the wart may need to be treated more than once.

Why do you need it?

Foot warts may cause pain while standing or walking. A wart does not need to be treated unless you want to get rid of it. There are other ways to remove warts, like using medicine or cryotherapy (freezing).

During your wart removal:

  • Informed Consent:
    • You have the right to understand your health problem. In words you can understand, you should be told what tests, treatments, or procedures may be done to treat your wart. Your doctor should also tell you about the risks and benefits of each treatment.
    • You may be asked to sign a consent form. If you are unable to give your consent, someone who has permission can sign this form for you. A consent form is a legal piece of paper that gives your doctor permission to do certain tests, treatments, or procedures. This form should tell you exactly what will be done to you. Your doctor should tell you what the risks and benefits of each treatment are before you sign the form. Before giving your consent, make sure all your questions have been answered so that you understand what may happen.
  • The wart and the area around it will be cleaned. Your caregiver may give you numbing medicine so you will have little pain. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any numbing medicines, like novacaine, lidocaine, or epinephrine.
  • A tool with a thin, needle-like hot tip is put on your wart. The skin cells are killed by the heat which burns them. The area around your wart may look like it is charred (white and swollen). Your caregiver will remove the dead skin. A skin sample may be sent to the lab for tests.
  • The treatment will take about 20 to 30 minutes. Your caregiver will cover the area with a bandage.
  • It is very important to keep your wound clean with soap and water to prevent infection. You may cover it with a small bandage to protect it for a few days. If the bandage gets wet, change it with a clean, dry bandage.
  • A soft scab will form over the treated area. It will drop off by itself and leave a small scar.
  • If your wound continues to ooze blood during the first 24 hours, use a clean tissue or cloth and apply firm gentle pressure to the area for 10 minutes. Repeat this for another 10 minutes if the bleeding does not stop. Call your caregiver if the bleeding continues after 20 minutes.

Call your caregiver if:

  • You have more pain, swelling, redness, or drainage in the treated area. These may mean you have a wound infection.
  • The skin around your wart is red and hot.
  • The warts do not go away or you get more warts.

See your caregiver right away if:

  • You have a fever or shaking chills.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.