Most of us will meet the HPV virus at some point, in the form of a wart on the hand or a verruca on the foot. This irritating virus cause disruption to our skin cells and surrounding blood vessels, sometimes spreading rapidly to create a large "mosaic" of infected skin. If you are unlucky, your wart or verruca may be painful. In any case, it will be contagious - spreading to family members or friends sharing the same bathroom or swimming facilities.
Fortunately, help is at hand. We are very excited to introduce our new SWIFT machine to Greensteps Podiatry this November! SWIFT is a highly effective method of treating verrucas which uses microwave technology. A carefully controlled pulse of microwave energy is delivered to the infected area, travelling through the skin to act on the verruca below the skin as well as the surface. This is repeated up to 5 times during a session, targeting the infected cells without causing a break in the skin. Cleverest of all, microwave energy stimulates the body’s own immune cells to act on the virus over the following days and weeks.
A standard course of SWIFT treatment involves 3 sessions; each one 4 weeks apart, with a final review after 12 weeks. Recent research has shown excellent results. No dressings are needed and you can bath, shower and swim during the course of treatment.
SWIFT is suitable for anyone over 12 years old. It is not suitable for anyone with metallic implants or a pacemaker. Diabetic patients should seek advice from their GP before embarking on a course of treatment.
Why should I go for SWIFT and not over the counter methods like Bazuka?
Recent research has shown a clearance rate of 83% of verrucas after the standard course of SWIFT treatment. This compares with 20-50% resolution with over-the-counter methods. Additionally, the filing associated with acid-based treatments has been known to spread the virus further. Messy dressings and soaking are also associated with them, whereas SWIFT is "clean" - no dressings are generally needed. Multiple applications of topical treatments sometimes result in scar tissue, which can be painful in its turn.
Will my doctor treat my verruca?
In some areas, the NHS has decided not to treat verrucas. In reality, most GPs refer verruca patients to their local pharmacy where a range of treatment methods are available over the counter.
Won't my verruca just go away on it's own?
There is some evidence that 3/10 verrucas will disappear on their own in 3 months or so. This is especially true in younger children whose immune systems tend to be more active and will respond faster to the virus. If you are willing to wait and see, remember to cover with a waterproof plaster to prevent cross infection or spreading. Those will any immuno-compromise may find that verrucas take longer to resolve. It is not uncommon to find patients who have suffered for more than 20 years with their condition unresolved. However, SWIFT will still work on long standing verrucas.
Is SWIFT painful?
As you may expect, some people find SWIFT to be mild to moderately painful. The sensation lasts only whilst the SWIFT applicator is applied to the skin - usually in 2 second bursts. This generally means most people can tolerate a course of treatment. People commonly tell us that the sensation is like passing your hand through a candle flame (not to be tried at home or on your verruca of course!!)
Is SWIFT treatment guaranteed to work?
Podiatrists will tell you that there is never a guarantee with the verruca virus. Success rates for treatment differ between individuals, with some working for some people and not for others. However, cryotherapy and salicylic acid-based methods struggle to reach 50% clearance rates whilst research on SWIFT has demonstrated an 80%+ clearance rate, even on stubborn and long-standing verrucas.
Who invented microwave treatment for verrucas and is it safe?
The SWIFT machine is manufactured by Scottish company Emblation. Emblation are pioneering the use of microwave technology in many areas, including cancer treatment and dermatology, including skin cancers. SWIFT was launched in 2016 and to date, more than 200,000 treatments have been carried out worldwide.
How do I book for SWIFT?
Call us on 01529 701415 to book an initial consultation or a FREE verruca check. The usual new patient fee (£70) is waived if you sign up for a course of SWIFT at the time of your first appointment.
What if I am still unsure whether SWIFT is right for me?
Please call us on 01529 701415 and book a free verruca check where we will discuss all options with you, including SWIFT. You can also download a leaflet with some further information on microwave treatment and its successes here or head over to treatwithswift.com to find out more about this ground-breaking device.