Warts are ugly but they are common, and there are many ways and means to remove them. I prefer to use a YAG laser to remove warts.

Surprisingly, this simple technique is not very common among dermatologists who typically freeze warts with nitrogen. That is painful and not very effective as in many cases more than one treatment is required.

Digging into the body of research on the subject I found a report on a study published in September 2009 by the Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.

This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser in the treatment of warts. Over the course of 1 yr, 369 patients with recalcitrant or untreated warts were exposed to a long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser. The following parameters were used:

  • spot size: 5 mm;
  • pulse duration: 20 msec;
  • fluence: 200 J/cm2.

No concomitant topical treatment was used. In all, 21 patients were lost during follow up; hence, the data for 348 patients were evaluated. The clearance rate was 96% (336 of the 348 treated warts were eradicated). The clearance rate of verruca vulgaris after the first treatment was very high (72.6%), whereas the clearance rate of deep palmopantar warts after the first treatment was low (44.1%).

During a median follow-up period of 2.24 months (range, 2-10 months), 11 relapses were seen (recurrence rate, 3.27%).

The study concluded that long-pulsed Nd:YAG laser is safe and effective for the removal or reduction of warts and is less dependent on patient compliance than are other treatment options.

Based on my own experience, pulse duration is not critical as I have seen excellent results after zapping warts with an Nd:YAG laser with 0.65 msec pulse width. Shorter pulse duration is also less painful.