Needling is an evidence based treatment for verrucae. The procedure involves puncturing the verruca with a small, sterile needle to cause bleeding and to stimulate the body’s immune system to resolve the problem. Needling for verrucae has been used for over 40 years, being first described in 1966 by Gordon Falknor, an American podiatrist.
The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and therefore it does not hurt. Once both the patient and the podiatrist are happy the area is numb a needle is used to cause repeated trauma to the verruca (the largest one if there are multiple). The aim of this is to implant the virally infected cells deeper in to the tissue where it can be 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. There are many treatments for verrucae although the results are mixed and the treatments are often painful. In addition, they often require several consultations. Verruca needling is an effective treatment and usually only requires a single application, but in some cases further treatment is necessary.
Following treatment the area will be dressed with a sterile, dry dressing. A follow-up appointment will be arranged for 1 week later although patients can remove the initial dressing the day after the procedure and continue with their work/leisure activities as normal.
The procedure can be repeated and any of the other common treatments can still be provided. Pain relief is generally not necessary and anti-inflammatories (such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen) should be avoided as there is a theoretical chance this could reduce the body’s immune response to the treatment.
Until recently, there was very little information on the success rates of needling for the treatment of verrucae, however, a recent paper (click here) has demonstrated some very positive results which are summarised below:
- 31 patients (69%) had complete resolution
- 3 patients had reduced size and pain
- 11 showed no improvement
- There were no post operative infections or scarring
- Only mild symptoms were reported – bruising, slight discomfort
No treatment can ever be guaranteed to be 100% effective but the body of clinical evidence supporting the effectiveness of this treatment is growing all of the time and more than one treatment may be required. At Bay Podiatry we have experience of successfully treating many verrucae with this technique and have had some very encouraging results. If at 4 months the verruca has not resolved we will offer a second treatment at a 50% discounted rate.
If you would like any further information on needling for verrucae then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0191 2524441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org