What is the prognosis of nongenital warts?

Updated: Sep 25, 2020
  • Author: Philip D Shenefelt, MD, MS; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Approximately 65% of warts disappear spontaneously within 2 years. When warts resolve on their own, no scarring is seen. However, scarring can occur as a result of different treatment methods. Growth of periungual or subungual warts may result in permanent nail dystrophy.

Treatment failures and wart recurrences are common, more so among immunocompromised patients. Normal appearing perilesional skin may harbor HPV, which helps explain recurrences.

Common warts are usually asymptomatic, but they may cause cosmetic disfigurement or tenderness. Plantar warts can be painful, and extensive involvement on the sole of the foot may impair ambulation. Malignant change in nongenital warts is rare but has been reported and is termed verrucous carcinoma. [5, 6, 7] Verrucous carcinoma is considered to be a slow-growing, locally invasive, well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma that may be easily mistaken for a common wart. It can occur anywhere on the skin but is most common on the plantar surfaces. Although this type of cancer rarely metastasizes, it can be locally destructive.


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