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Microwave treatments should not be used for warts located on sensitive organs, such as penile genital warts, as this type of treatment is potentially damaging to the nerves and functional elements of the male organ. Condylomata and anogenital HPV warts are not the same as plantar or common warts

Authors:
  • Dr. Arani Medical Center

Abstract

Microwave treatments should not be used for warts located on sensitive organs, such as penile genital warts, as this type of treatment is potentially damaging to the nerves and functional elements of the male organ. Condyloma and anogenital HPV warts are not the same as plantar or common warts. There has been usage of microwave treatments for plantar warts and verruca warts mainly located on thicker-skinned parts of the body, such as the hands and feet.
Microwave treatments should not be used for warts located on sensitive organs, such as
penile genital warts, as this type of treatment is potentially damaging to the nerves and
functional elements of the male organ. Condyloma and anogenital HPV warts are not the
same as plantar or common warts
There has been usage of microwave treatments for plantar warts and verruca warts mainly
located on thicker-skinned parts of the body, such as the hands and feet.
The depth of penetration depends on the frequency of the microwaves and the tissue type.
Microwaves are known to penetrate and heat tissue far below the surface of the tissue.
The threshold for cellular damage is around 42°C. The pain threshold is about 45°C. In other
words, the patient might not feel any pain even though they are silently experiencing radiation
damage to their body. Therefore, feeling pain is not a reliable sign of whether or not the
microwave treatment is causing harmful levels of radiation exposure to the tissue.
That might not be an issue when treating, for example, the human heel, as the skin there is very
thick and damaged tissue might not have much effect on certain physiological functions. This is
not the case for the human genitals, however. The penis has a complex anatomy consisting of
the nerves, arteries, venous system, corpus cavernosum, corpus spongiosum, tunica albuginea,
urethra, and smooth muscle cells, to name a few.
If microwave radiation to treat warts or other skin anomalies penetrates the skin of this area
deeply, it is dangerous to penile function, causing issues with sensation, normal erectile
function, and urination by cellular damage.
No matter how careful we are on microwave device we use, microwave penetration of deeper
tissue will be involved, as the genital area is relatively small and has a complex anatomical
system. Warts are very irregular in height and consistency, and there is no way one microwave
frequency can penetrate a standard predetermined depth, as the depth of the warts varies; thus,
deeper layers of tissue are exposed to radiation.
Tissue damage via microwaves is dependent on tissue sensitivity and power density, which
depends on distance from the applicator or transmitter. Tissue with high water content absorbs
more microwave radiation.
Due to the deeper penetration of microwave frequencies, the skin may be minimally affected
and show no signs of damage, while the nerves, smooth muscle tissue, and blood vessels
(veins and arteries) may be significantly damaged. Sensory nerves are very sensitive to such
damage; cases of persistent neuritis and neuropathy due to compression have been reported
after microwave exposure. Fat suffers less damage than deep muscle tissue; however, fat is the
area of least concern compared to the other cellular injuries which have been discussed.
Other areas of the body, such as the anal area, have similar concerns in terms of damaging the
anal sphincter, muscles, and nerves, potentially causing permanent fecal incontinence.
Malignant or dysplastic pre-malignant HPV lesions in this area are common, in contrast to other
parts of the body such as the feet, and treating them without a tissue biopsy might put the
patient’s life in danger. The combination of these reasons is why some self-applied freezing
treatments are used for common and plantar warts specifically label and warns consumer
against used for genital warts.
Microwave treatment might be safe for verruca warts on the feet, but it might be very harmful in
the anogenital area, and the side effects could be detrimental, including erectile dysfunction. It
might be unethical to use microwave devices for warts on the genitalia and anal such as HPV
papilloma warts for any studies or treatment.
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