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Condyloma treatments include topical medications, freezing temperatures, electrical current, and carbon dioxide lasers. Physicians might also opt for surgical removal. The course of treatment typically depends on the patient’s health and immune system condition, pregnancy status, and the success of prior treatment methods. Health care providers generally only treat patients with visible lesions in hopes that removal will assist the immune system in inhibiting viral cell replication.
Initial treatment is usually the application of a topical gel, solution, or ointment to the lesions. Some medications require multiple daily applications while others must be applied once a day for a specified number of days per week. These preparations are generally caustic and designed to destroy lesion tissue. Side effects vary with the type of medication and range from mild to severe. Some topical agents can cause burning and itching of the surrounding area, and other formulations may painfully ulcerate the skin.
When topical medications provide inadequate results and the patient is pregnant, physicians often treat condyloma with cryotherapy. This type of condyloma treatment is generally successful on smaller lesions. A cryoprobe, containing liquid nitrogen, is applied to to each lesion. The rapid freezing and subsequent thawing ruptures cell walls and produces extensive cell damage. Post treatment inflammation can also contribute to the cellular destruction process.
Electrodessication, or electrosurgery, is a process in which electric current is passed through a needle or a small loop. The bipolar needle method delivers high-frequency generated heat to pinpoint spots. A bipolar loop burns and cuts tissue while also stopping bleeding. This type of condyloma treatment is often used to remove larger genital warts. It can be performed on an outpatient basis with local anesthesia.
Carbon dioxide laser therapy can be performed using local or general anesthesia. Treating condyloma in this manner generally destroys the lesions while sparing the surrounding healthy skin. Patients suffering from resistant or extensive lesions often benefit from this type of condyloma treatment. Reports claim that as many as half of the patients receiving laser treatment become completely lesion free within three years.
Removing condyloma lesions surgically involves excising the tissue from the body using a scalpel and may be performed under local or general anesthesia. This method of condyloma treatment is usually reserved for extensive or resistant disease processes, and sutures might be required following lesion removal. Studies indicate that up to 72% of patients undergoing surgical removal become lesion free within one year.
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