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Genital Warts (cont.)

What About Surgery to Cure Genital Warts (HPV)?

Cutting the warts away can be done as an office procedure with local anesthesia. It is usually done when the warts are small in size and number. Surgical destruction or excision has been more effective in eradicating genital warts than medical therapies, but it carries a relatively high recurrence rate.

What Is the Outlook for a Person with Genital Warts (HPV)

  • Complete the necessary treatment as outlined by your health-care practitioner.
  • Women with genital warts should see their doctor for a routine Pap smear and investigation for HPV infection of the vaginal canal and cervix. If the genital warts are not successfully treated with the initial therapy, the individual will need to follow-up with a doctor or a dermatologist to discuss options for alternative treatment.
  • In many cases, genital warts fail to respond to treatment or come back even after an removal.
  • Reappearance of abnormal cells on the cervix of women is not altered by treatment of their sexual partners.
  • Recurrence rates of genital warts are greater than 50% after one year and have been attributed to the following factors:
    • Recurrent infection from a sexual partner; infection with multiple HPV types is possible
    • Potentially long incubation time of HPV
    • Persistence of the virus in the surrounding skin, in the hair follicle, or in sites that are missed by the treatment used
    • Deep lesions or lesions that cannot be detected
  • Genital warts often appear or increase in number during pregnancy. Dormant infections may also become activated. The presence of genital warts may make vaginal delivery difficult if they are in the cervix or vagina, and warts in these locations tend to bleed easily. The warts often disappear without treatment after pregnancy. The real danger, however, is that newborns may become infected during passage through an infected birth canal. HPV can cause a very serious condition in children called recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP). This is a life-threatening disease of the respiratory tract. The papillomas or warts appear and spread quickly, sometimes dangerously blocking the child's airway.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2002. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2002 May 10;51(RR-6):1-78. Human papillomaviruses.
<> Warts, genital.

Alexander L. American Social Health Association. Answering frequently asked questions about HPV; Sex Transm Dis. 2003 Mar;30(3):193-4.

Previous contributing authors and editors: Author: Jan Zislis, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Traumatology and Emergency Medicine, Hartford Hospital, University of Connecticut.Coauthor(s): Thomas Nowicki, MD, Associate Program Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Hartford Hospital, University of Connecticut; Carrie A Cwiak, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Connecticut Health Center.Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; James Ungar, MD, Medical Director, Chair Department of Emergency Medicine Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/2/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Warts, Genital »

Until the 19th century, genital warts (GWs) were believed to be a form of syphilis or gonorrhea.

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