Visible genital warts on the penis or vagina or around the anus can be removed by excision. This means cutting off the warts with a surgical knife (scalpel). Warts on the cervix may be removed by laser or loop electrosurgical excision (LEEP).
The procedure is usually done in a doctor's office or clinic or an outpatient surgery center. You receive medicine that numbs the area around the warts (local anesthetic).
Recovery time depends on the location and number of warts removed.
- Most people will be able to return to normal activities within 1 to 3 days.
- Healing takes 2 to 4 weeks.
- Scarring may occur.
Avoid sexual intercourse until the treated area heals and soreness is gone. (This usually takes 1 to 3 weeks. It depends on the size of the area treated.)
Surgery is used to remove warts that return after other treatments. It also may be used when warts are widespread. A single treatment may be all that is needed.
Surgery often works well to treat genital warts. Most of the time it removes warts. But warts may grow back.
Risks of surgery are:
- Infection. You may receive antibiotics at the time of the procedure, to reduce the risk of infection.
- Pain. You may need medicine for several days after the procedure.
Current as of: February 11, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology