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Prognosis

The outlook varies. Many common warts disappear without treatment over 6 to 12 months. Others dissolve when an over-the-counter remedy is used for several weeks or months.

Of the office-based therapies, surgical removal of a wart gives the best immediate results, because the wart is cut away in one doctor's visit. Other forms of therapy require several office visits. After a wart has been removed, there is no guarantee that it will not come back, because it is difficult to be certain that HPV infection has been eliminated from the deeper layers of the infected skin. Some stubborn warts require several rounds of treatment before they go away for good.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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