(FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions
SWIFT ADVANCED WART TREATMENT
What is Swift Microwave Therapy for Warts?
Swift Microwave therapy is a Health Canada approved microwave treatment for foot warts using medical microwave technology to effectively remove plantar warts (also known as verruca). Plantar warts have long been a frustrating condition, and finally, there is an answer! Unlike other destructive treatment methods, Swift targets the root cause of the wart, the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus is tricky because it lacks surface markers that would otherwise trigger an immune response.
A focused microwave signal is emitted into the skin to a predetermined depth of about 3 mm. The microwave signal heats up infected cells to 42-45 degrees Celsius. As a result, the infected skin cells go into Heat Shock and leak Heat Shock Protein into your circulatory system which initiates an immune cascade that allows the body to detect and attack the HPV virus, typically ridding the patient of this uncomfortable and unsightly condition.
Unlike other tissue-destructive treatments (freezing, acids, laser, surgery), Swift relies on an triggering a natural immune response through localized tissue damage without breaking the skin barrier. For the patient, this typically translates into no down time, no residual pain, no bandaging or applying daily acids, and often a quicker resolution with fewer office visits.
Swift microwave treatment is considered by many experts to be the most advanced treatments for plantar warts.
Overall, microwave treatment for warts offers a more superior approach to other wart removal treatments with a shorter treatment course and more predictable results.
How does the treatment work?
Treatment protocol includes an average of 3-4 visits with each treatment lasting only about 5-10 minutes. During each treatment, you will receive multiple 2-3 second doses of microwave energy; total dosage will vary based on the size and age of the lesion. Visits are spaced about 4 weeks apart to coincide with the body’s immune cycle, with follow up scheduled for 12 weeks following the anticipated final treatment. Complete resolution is aligned with the strength of you body’s immune response.
How Safe Are Microwaves?
Microwaves are a form of non-ionizing radiation, which means that they cannot cause damage to the DNA of living things. Swift Microwave uses very low energy levels that are only able to vibrate water molecules within skin cells to a depth of only a few mm. The amount of energy used by the Swift device more closely resembles the 10 Watt energy emitted by your smartphone (not your 1000 Watt microwave oven). Microwave treatment for warts is a safe, effective wart removal option.
What should I expect?
Swift is the quick and clean new treatment for skin. Unlike cryotherapy, salicylic acid and laser, Swift does not break the surface of the skin and eliminates the need for bandages or dressings – so you can enjoy your active lifestyle without downtime.
Does it hurt?
Like many treatments for skin lesions, you will experience some discomfort / pain. Pain levels vary from person to person depending on your individual pain threshold but most people undergoing Swift feel a burning sensation lasting 2 – 3 seconds then quickly subsiding. There is usually no anesthesia/injection needed!
Who can benefit from Swift verruca treatment?
Almost anyone who has stubborn warts and verrucas can benefit from Swift. There are contra-indications to Swift but outside these anyone who has warts/verrucas on their feet can benefit.
If any of the following apply to you, speak to your foot specialist before treatment:
Metal pins, plates or replacement joints in the foot or ankle
Neuropathy or poor peripheral circulation
Poor or limited healing capacity
Pregnancy or breast feeding. It is known that verrucas and warts can increase in size during this period
Low pain threshold
Can anyone have Swift wart treatment?
With a few exceptions, (see above) most people with foot warts should be able to have this treatment. Your foot specialist will carry out an assessment prior to treatment and advise you accordingly of your treatment options. Swift is suitable for most people with few exceptions, although the purpose and reason for a consultation prior to treatment is to identify anyone for who it may not be appropriate. We will discuss your concerns and answer questions you may have.
What will the wart/verruca look like after it has been treated and how quickly will it work?
Immediately after the treatment there will be no change to the appearance of the wart. A change may start to show after a few days. Swift works by prompting an immune response and time is needed for the process to gather pace. That is why there is a gap of a few weeks between treatments.
As regression is established the wart typically shrinks in from the edges at the same time as reducing in thickness – or ‘debulking’. The dermal ridges or ‘fingerprint’ of the underlying tissue will gradually re-establish itself as the verruca resolves.
A follow up visit will allow our foot specialist to evaluate any changes and make a decision on whether or not you require additional Swift treatment(s).
How many Swift verruca treatments will I need?
This depends on how you respond to treatment. Some resolve within three treatments but more may be needed particularly with large or multiple lesions. These can be from 14 days to over a month apart depending on progress. Your foot specialist will discuss this with you.
When the virus enters the skin, some people’s immune systems immediately respond by producing antibodies and killing it dead. Others don’t and a wart forms. However, the necessary immune response can still happen at any time, and, days, weeks, months or years later, the wart can suddenly disappear.
Swift is designed to prompt that local immune response for the body to heal itself. Swift treatment results in a degree of localized tissue damage prompting a healing response part of which is antibody recruitment.
It is also thought to stimulate heat shock protein production which is known to prompt a strong healing response. Patients who are immune-suppressed are at risk of developing multiple, resistant lesions, which are difficult to treat.
What can I do after Swift wart treatment?
Normally any pain or discomfort ends as soon as the treatment is finished but it is possible there may be some minor residual discomfort. However one of the great things about Swift is there is no broken skin, also no dressings and no need to keep it dry. Therefore you can do anything you wish. Swim, shower, run, jump and play.
Does using Swift treatment mean that the wart won’t come back?
Once the wart is gone, it is usually gone for good. However, even though Swift works by prompting an immune response and production of the appropriate antibodies communicating a degree of immunity, there can never be a guarantee that you won’t catch another at some point in the future. That’s why it’s important to properly wash and dry your feet after walking in public areas such as pools, locker rooms or showers.
What is the cost for the Swift Microwave Wart Treatment? Is it covered by my insurance?
OHIP does not cover the cost of this treatment.
Costs for this procedure are discussed during your consultation. We offer one of the most competitively priced Swift wart treatments in Ontario.
This procedure may be covered by your Extended Health Insurance Plan. Patients with flexible spending accounts can often use these funds towards procedures such as the Swift wart treatment. We cannot directly bill your insurance for this treatment and payment is due on the day of your treatment.
If we determine you are a candidate for Swift wart treatments, we can provide you with a pre-authorization letter for you to submit to your insurer to determine your level of coverage. Alternately, you may wish to inquire about your coverage directly with your insurer prior to your consultation so you will be ready for treatment if appropriate.
What is the process I go through to receive this treatment?
Call our office to schedule a consultation. A referral is NOT required. If you are a candidate for Swift wart treatment the foot specialist will review the treatment and answer any questions you may have. We will discuss aftercare to prevent re-infection. We will then schedule your subsequent appointments spaced about 4 weeks apart. Your comfort, safety and convenience are our priority.