CO2 laser treatment of warts in immunosuppressed patients

Dermatology. 2003;206(2):148-52. doi: 10.1159/000068459.


Background: A large proportion of chronically immunosuppressed patients suffer from recalcitrant viral warts. Furthermore, the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer is clearly elevated in this patient group and human papillomavirus is most likely to play a causal role in these neoplasms.

Objective: To analyze the effectiveness of treatment of viral warts with the CO(2) laser in immunosuppressed patients.

Methods: Multiple viral warts of 13 patients with immunosuppression, a majority of them renal allograft recipients, were treated with CO(2) laser in local or regional anesthesia. In case of recurrences, the lesions were treated again after 3 months.

Results: 12 of 13 patients experienced dramatic improvement after 1-3 treatment sessions, 6 of these patients showed full remission. Side effects such as postoperative pain or scarring were minimal.

Conclusion: CO(2) laser treatment of recalcitrant warts in immunosuppressed patients shows promising results which are comparable to those in immunocompetent hosts. This offers a welcome enlargement of the array of therapies in this otherwise difficult-to-treat group of patients and may contribute to the reduction of risk factors for nonmelanoma skin cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Warts / immunology
  • Warts / pathology
  • Warts / surgery*