SWIFT Plantar Wart Treatment Patterson, 3204
What is SWIFT?
SWIFT is new technology for the general treatment of skin lesions in podiatry and dermatology. SWIFT was developed in the UK and has been approved for use in the EU, Canada and in Australia. Its approval for use in the USA is understood to be due soon. SWIFT therapy treatment uses microwave energy which is delivered through a probe applied to the skin to treat the affected tissue.
How does it work?
The microwaves generated by the SWIFT machine excite the water molecules and cause friction. This friction heats up the skin cells to 42-45 C° which puts the virally infected cells of the wart into a state of stress. The stressed cells release “danger signalling” heat shock proteins which induces maturation of Langerhans cells and enhances their migration to the lymph nodes. Cytotoxic T cells migrate to the epidermis and begin to destroy all virally infected cells (Ardern-Jones, M., et al. (2016)).
How does it feel?
When you present for treatment with SWIFT, the overlying thick skin (callus) will be reduced (debrided) using a scalpel. A photograph will be taken using a digital microscope to help track the progress of the treatment. Treatment is administered in 3 to five, 2 second bursts at each treatment site. Like many treatments for skin lesions, some discomfort may be experienced. Whilst pain levels vary from person to person, most people undergoing SWIFT liken it to the pain of a small but hot injection, lasting for no more than 3 seconds.
The pain then quickly subsides. Whilst the skin will not suffer burns at 45 C deg, because your body senses danger it will quickly trigger a pain response. This is why the pain disappears so quickly. It is rare for there to be any more that a slight redness and warmth at the site of treatment. Only in rare cases is there any prolonged pain. A post-procedural dressing is rarely necessary.
How many treatments are required?
Typically treatment is over three months with each treatment 4 weeks apart. Like the first visit, the wart will be debrided, photographed and treated with SWIFT each time. Compared with traditional treatments such as chemicals, acids or freezing, the risk of adverse events such as blistering, bruising and post treatment pain are significantly reduced using SWIFT. It is however noteworthy that these reactions may occur in some patients, but this is rare. Unlike some traditional treatments, SWIFT wart treatments are safe to use on breastfeeding patients.