The Holly Private Hospital Launches new Swift Clinic to treat Verruca
The Holly Private Hospital and Consultant Podiatric Surgeon, Trevor Prior are excited to launch a new Swift Clinic for verruca’s and skin lesions. Swift is a new technology, developed in the UK which uses microwave energy applied by a special probe to treat the affected tissue.
Swift clinics are held at the hospital on Tuesday afternoons and evenings. An initial consultation costs £200 and most patients require 2 – 3 treatments. The guide price for full Swift treatment is £345 – £490.
In our latest Ask the Expert article, Consultant Podiatric Surgeon, Trevor Prior talks about the Swift clinic and how verruca treatment has advanced.
Firstly Trevor, what is a verruca and what causes it?
A verruca is a viral infection which affects the outer layer of skin (epidermis). It’s the same type of infection that causes warts. The viral infection can enter the skin if there is any break in the skin or if the skin is very moist – which explains why people believe they pick them up at swimming pools. Patients who are immunocompromised due to either certain medical conditions or medications are more susceptible to verrucae.
How do I know if I have a verruca?
Verrucae develop on the feet (often the soles) and toes. They tend to be flat rather than raised but can be painful if they're on a weight-bearing part of the foot
Verrucae are generally well defined as they become encapsulated within the outer layer of skin on the foot. As a result, the natural skin lines that you can see on the skin are ‘pushed’ around the verruca which is one of the diagnostic features.
The infection targets the layer of cells that produce new skin cells and as a result, they often form hard skin quite quickly over the top, particularly when they are on the sole of the foot. The pressure from the extra cells pushes blood vessels close to the skin which is why you often see little black dots.
How can I prevent getting verrucae?
Unfortunately, there have been no studies to show how you can 100% prevent getting a verruca, but I have listed some simple tips below:
- take care of your feet – keep them clean and dry, change your socks every day and don’t go barefoot in public places
- avoid touching other people’s warts or verrucae
- avoid sharing towels, flannels, shoes or socks with other people
- wear sandals when in community showers and on the side of a swimming pool (however, there is little protection you can take once in a swimming pool)
- make sure you don’t have any obvious breaks in the skin in case you are exposed to the virus.
When should I see a specialist?
Many verrucae are painless and they will resolve of their own accord but this can take several years. Many patients seek treatment if the verrucae are unsightly, start spreading or are painful.
What will happen during a consultation?
Firstly, we’ll take a detailed history to ascertain how long any lesion has been present. We’ll also ask about previous treatments and results and importantly any relevant medical history or medication.
We’ll also examine your foot to correctly identify what the lesion is. This may involve removing some of the overlying skin. We’ll then discuss all of the treatment options so we can choose the most effective for your individual circumstances.
What treatments are available?
There are a range of treatment options available for verrucae including:
- topical acids and homeopathic treatments
- topical anti-viral ointments
- cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen)
- Swift therapy.
What is the new Swift treatment?
Swift microwave therapy is an exciting advance in treatment which has proved to be very successful according to recent studies. Swift uses microwaves to destroy the verruca tissue and this treatment does not require any local anaesthetic or significant dressings.
Does it hurt?
Like many treatments for skin lesions, some minor discomfort may be experienced. Before treatment your podiatrist may decide to reduce the lesion with a blade. Pain levels vary from person to person but most people undergoing Swift liken it to a pain similar to an injection or a scratch, lasting 2 – 3 seconds then quickly subsiding. In some cases the treated area may feel sore afterwards but will not prevent you undertaking normal daily activities.
How many treatments will I need?
This will depend on how you respond to treatment. In some cases, you may need more than one treatment (these can be from 14 days to over a month apart depending on the response). Mr Prior will be able to discuss this with you.
Read more about the new Swift and Verucca Clinic here
Trevor Prior has clinics at The Holly Private Hospital on Tuesdays.
A guide price for the full Swift treatment pathway ranges from £345 to £490.
To book an appointment call our friendly appointments team on 020 8936 1201.