Needling for verrucae is a relatively simple procedure and has been used for over 40 years. First described in 1966 by Gordon Falknor, an American podiatrist, who in eight months treated 126 verrucae with only two recurrences.
If you have a verruca it is most likely that you will have caught it from a communal floor such as a swimming pool or changing room but it could just as easily have been at home or on holiday.
The virus that forms a verruca is called the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and it can survive for some time outside the body. It can resist extreme dryness, freezing, and prolonged storage outside of host cells. The verruca is essentially a collection of skin cells infected by the HPV virus. These infected cells remain in the outer layers of the skin, away from detection by the body’s immune system; this explains why verrucae can be so resilient.
To become active, the verruca needs a host cell to infect and it finds this in the upper layers of the skin known as the epidermis, often entering through cuts or abrasions. When the virus has infected the host cell, it alters the genome. When it reproduces, it produces two cells with the altered genome; those two produce four, eight, sixteen and so on until there are enough altered cells for a verruca to become visible to the naked eye.
The only way that a verruca can be successfully treated is if every infected cell is destroyed. The only way that can be done is through an anti-body response via the immune system when given the chance and Falknor’s needling technique gives it that chance.
As the virus is confined to the epidermis it does not spread into the body and it is thought
for the same reason the immune system cannot see it. The way dry needling works is to push verruca cells from the epidermis through into the underlying tissue. This triggers an immune response, the appropriate antibodies are produced and over the subsequent weeks the verruca undergoes a natural deterioration before ultimately disappearing.
What to expect during a treatment
The needling procedure is carried out painlessly, under local anaesthetic which is used to numb the affected area. Once both the patient and the Podiatrist are happy the area is sufficiently pain free, a needle is used to cause repeated trauma to the verruca. The aim of this is to implant the virally infected cells deeper in to the tissue where it is quickly detected by the immune system and an immune response is stimulated.
In the case of multiple verrucae, only one lesion needs to be treated (the ‘mother’ lesion) which may then result in the spontaneous resolution of all verrucae (‘satellite’ lesions) due to the systemic nature of the body’s immune response. Unlike treatments using acids or cryotherapy, needling usually only requires a single application, but in some cases further treatment may be necessary.
Pre and post op photographs will be taken and kept on your medical record.
Once this process has been completed a simple dry dressing is applied. This must be kept dry for at least 24 hours.
The anaesthetic will start to wear off in two to three hours, but do not be concerned if it takes a little longer as the effects vary from person to person.
After 48 hours showering is permitted and life can continue as normal.
There may be some slight discomfort for the first couple of days and pain relief may be taken to ease this as long as it is not aspirin or ibuprofen based.
The site of the procedure will be checked by your podiatrist after one week to check healing and remove scabbing and again after 3 months to measure the degree of regression of the verrucae. This will be repeated after 6 months.
You are entitled to have a chaperone present during medical history, examination and treatment. You must provide your own chaperone if one is required.
Who can benefit?
Almost anyone who has a verruca or multiple verrucae. We can treat those with diabetes whose treatment options are very limited and older children for whom other treatments have been unsuccessful.
The only people this will not be suitable for are those with immune disorders or inflammatory conditions as it could cause the body to respond with a flare up.
Book an appointment
Call us on 01273 567881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.
Address: 31 George Street, Hove BN3 3YB
Phone: 01273 567881