Electrocautery for Genital Warts

Surgery Overview

Electrocautery removes genital warts on the penis, vulva, or around the anus by burning them with a low-voltage electrified probe.

Electrocautery is usually done in a doctor's office or a clinic. The injection of a numbing medicine (local anesthetic) is usually used for pain control. Medicine that causes unconsciousness (general anesthetic) may be used depending on the number of warts to be removed or destroyed.

What To Expect

The recovery time depends on the location and number of warts removed.

  • After surgery you may have some pain, swelling, and redness.
  • Healing usually takes 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Healing may take longer if a large area of tissue is burned.
  • Treatment may leave scars.

Why It Is Done

Electrocautery removes warts with little blood loss. It usually is used for small areas of warts.

How Well It Works

Electrocautery often works to remove warts. But warts may grow back.

Risks

Risks of electrocautery are:

  • Bleeding. Blood loss is usually minimal, because the electrocautery seals blood vessels as it removes warts.
  • Infection. Antibiotics may be given at the time of the procedure to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Pain. Medicine may be needed for several days after the electrocautery procedure.

Credits

Current as of: February 11, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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