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Comparison of electrosurgery by electrodessication versus cryotherapy by liquid nitrogen spray technique in the treatment of plantar warts.

BACKGROUND: Warts or verrucae are benign proliferations of the skin and mucosa resulting from infection with papilloma viruses. Warts form a small subset of patients attending skin out-patient department (OPD), out of which the plantar warts are one of the common presentation. The present study is an attempt to compare two modalities of treatment that is electrosurgery and cryotherapy in patients with plantar warts. There are no studies available where comparison of complications between two modalities has been done in plantar warts thus making it one of unique studies of its kind.

METHODS: A prospective, comparative study was conducted over a period of 6 years. After exclusion criteria, one hundred forty-seven male patients having plantar warts were included in the study. Selection of patients suffering from warts subjected to treatment was done by simple random selection. After treatment, 39 patients were lost to follow-up, and finally 48 patients treated by electrosurgery and 60 by cryotherapy were compared and analysed statistically for response to treatment and incidence of complications.

RESULTS: The overall clearance rate was 75% in electrosurgery versus 73.3% in cryotherapy patients. The pain, delayed wound healing and scarring were observed significantly in more patients treated with electrosurgery than cryotherapy. In our study, recurrence at 24 weeks was observed in 21.9% of the electrosurgery patients which was slightly higher than cryotherapy, where it was 16.6%.

CONCLUSION: This study highlighted that cryotherapy is quick, safe and comparatively painless procedure with less complications with success almost similar to electrosurgery making it more suitable for plantar warts.

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