The stuff of wives’ tales and scary bedtime stories, unsightly warts never seem to go away quickly enough. While most of us are introduced to them on halloween masks and in cartoons, these unpleasant local growths appear on more than just the pages of dark fairy tales. In fact more than half of the population will develop one or more warts on their feet at least once during their life. And despite being generally less critical than say a broken toe, they are still a medical condition with consequences that should be treated.
Many people with warts report irritation, pain and embarrassment. This last one, may be the reason that many people avoid seeking medical advice. If left untreated, warts can jump to other areas of your body or even infect other people. Traditionally, warts have been difficult to treat leading to a long healing process. However, thanks to the new Swift system, that is all about the change.
Before we get into what the Swift system does, let’s examine the condition itself.
Symptom of Plantar Warts
Unsurprisingly, the most identifiable symptom of a plantar wart is the localized growth itself. These viral tumors have a grainy, rough appearance. While warts can develop anywhere on the body, the term plantar refers specifically to the feet. They most commonly appear on the toes or soles. Some warts develop little black dots, that many people call “seeds.” Actually, warts don’t have seeds. These black dots are in fact tiny, clotted blood vessels. Corns or calluses can sometimes be mistaken for a plantar wart.
The average plantar wart is about the size of a pencil eraser. Some can grow to be bigger. They can occasionally grow in clusters. These are called mosaic warts. Due to the pressure placed on the warts while walking, plantar warts don’t usually protrude very far above the skin.
If a plantar wart develops in a location that is prone to rubbing or chafing against the inside of your shoe or a spot which bears the weight of walking, it can lead to excessive tenderness, discomfort, or even pain when walking or standing.
Treating Verruca Effectively with Microwave Energy – Are we getting warmer?
by Pete Turnbull November 18, 2018
The basic science of microwave effects on skin and clinical responses noted suggest a mechanism for the observed action of microwaves in cutaneous warts, although more research is required to further this knowledge. Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of hyperthermia provides a strong case for this new technology to be explored further as a local immune response activator therapy. Additionally, it seems likely that there may be many other potential dermatology applications for this exciting technology.
What Will it Feel Like?
The microwaves will specifically target the cells that are causing the wart. It does not affect any nearby cells (including those on the surface). The microwaves cause the water molecules in the cells to vibrate and produce heat from friction. The temperature of the wart will rise to 42-45ºC in a matter of seconds and can cause some level of discomfort. It, however, only lasts for a second. This temperature is only a few degrees warmer than a hot tub and does not result in any scarring or serious side effects.
Can Anything be done to Eliminate Discomfort During The Swift Procedure?
While most patients do not report experiencing any significant levels of discomfort (many compare it to the feeling of an injection), everyone’s pain tolerance is different. If you are concerned about the pain, feel free to open a conversation at your consultation. Our professional staff will discuss pain and tolerance levels with each individual before they undergo the Swift treatment. If it is determined that pain relief is needed, we can administer the appropriate level of pain blocker. Some options include local anaesthetic, prescription medications. These and other methods will be discussed with you before the treatment.
How Many Treatments are Required?
It totally depends on how your body responds to the treatment method. In most cases, patients will need to undergo 3 to 4 treatments over a 4 week period. Once you come in for your consultation, we will be able to give you a ballpark figure.
Is Swift Approved to be used with Anyone?
With very few exceptions, everyone can undergo the Swift technique to treat a variety of skin lesions. Our specialists will complete a full health assessment prior to any treatment to determine if you are one of the few people that cannot.
How Does the Swift System Work?
By using microwaves to attack the wart, the Swift system guarantees effective and consistent results. The Swift system can be precisely calibrated to control the power, depth and duration of the microwave blast. Similarly to the powerwaves used in your microwave oven at home, these non-ionising waves agitate water molecules, causing them to vibrate and collide. The result is friction and the generation of thermal energy. Since there is a large water content in skin cells, the Swift system quickly reaches the desired temperature within target cells (2 to 3 seconds). Microwaves are found on the electro-magnetic spectrum between radio waves and infrared waves (300MHz-300GHz). The Swift system uses the optimal frequency of 8GHz to achieve its results.
The specially calibrated Swift microwaves will penetrate the skin without causing damage to the surface of the skin; unlike cryotherapy, salicylic acid or laser ablation which destroy tissue at the point of application. The microwave energy is delivered to a predetermined depth; usually between 3.5 – 4mm. The energy is deployed in a straight beam without dispersing or spreading out as it travels away from the source. This ensures that only the targeted area is impacted. There is no wait time. The microwaves start doing their job as soon as they are applied and only in the defined depth.
The Swift system does not impact the DNA of the skin cells and cannot travel any deeper than 6.5mm (¼ inch) into the skin.