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Pulsed Dye Laser Therapy in the Treatment of Warts: A Review of the Literature

Veitch, David MBChB, BSc, MRCP; Kravvas, Georgios MBChB, BSc, MRCP; Al-Niaimi, Firas MSc, MRCP, EBDV

doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000001023
Review Article

BACKGROUND Warts or verrucae vulgaris are common cutaneous infections with currently no definitive curative treatments available.

OBJECTIVE To determine the efficacy of pulsed dye laser (PDL) in the treatment of warts.

MATERIALS AND METHODS A literature search was performed using the PubMed and MEDLINE databases. A search using {(Wart[s], verruca or condylomata)} AND [(Pulsed dye laser)] was used. Forty-four articles were identified as relevant to this review.

RESULTS Simple warts were very responsive to PDL, being treated successfully in over 95% of patients. Facial and anogenital warts also demonstrated excellent outcomes. Recalcitrant warts, displayed significant variability in their response, ranging between 50% and 100% across all articles. The response rates seen in peripheral warts (involving the hands and feet) were also very variable, ranging between 48% and 95%. Recurrence rates at 4 months of follow-up were documented as 0% to 15%. Complications have been described as very few and rare, the main ones being topical discomfort and erythema.

CONCLUSION Pulsed dye laser is a safe and effective modality in the treatment of warts that can be applied to most body parts. Cost and availability remain a limitation to the use of PDL; however, this modality can be used when other more traditional and accessible treatments have failed.

*Department of Dermatology, University College London Hospital, London, United Kingdom;

Department of Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Unit, St. John's Institute of Dermatology, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, United Kingdom

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Firas Al-Niaimi, MSc, MRCP, EBDV, Department of Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Unit, St. John's Institute of Dermatology, St. Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH, United Kingdom, or e-mail:

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

© 2017 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
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