A Two-week Interval Is Better Than a Three-week Interval for Reducing the Recurrence Rate of Hand-foot Viral Warts after Cryotherapy: A Retrospective Review of 560 Hand-foot Viral Warts Patients

Ann Dermatol. 2011 Feb;23(1):53-60. doi: 10.5021/ad.2011.23.1.53. Epub 2011 Feb 28.


Background: Viral warts are a common infectious disease and liquid nitrogen cryotherapy is one of the most common methods for treatment of these warts. Hand-foot viral warts frequently recur and reduce quality of life as well.

Objective: To find the ideal treatment interval between cryotherapy sessions that can influence not only the cure rate but also the recurrence rate for hand-foot viral warts.

Methods: A retrospective study was designed to compare a 2 week interval and a 3 week interval between cryotherapy sessions on hand-foot viral warts with respect to cure rate, recurrence rate, treatment number, duration of treatment, mean time to recurrence and adverse events.

Results: A total of 560 patients were enrolled. The overall cure rate was 75.7% and the recurrence rate was 19.6%. The mean time to recurrence was 7.8 months (range 1~26 months). For the 2-week and 3-week groups, cure rates were, respectively, 76.6% (196) and 75.0% (228); recurrence rates were 13.3% (26) and 25.0% (57). The mean time to recurrence was 9.8 months and 6.9 months, respectively. Adverse events were not statistically different.

Conclusion: We suggested that 2-week cryotherapy is optimal not only because of the rapid cure but also because of the lower recurrence rate and similar adverse events.

Keywords: Cryotherapy; Recurrence rate; Treatment interval; Verruca; Wart.