Swift Microwave therapy
SWIFT is a method that we use in clinic for the treatment of verrucae. Its the latest technology and has been around for about 5 years, we have had it at LR Podiatry for 4 years. It works by using microwaves to treat the skin which is infected by the human papilloma virus (HPV).
How does it work?
The machine works by using a probe to fire microwaves into the infected tissue, the probe has an individual head that is discarded after every treatment. Prior to treatment it is sometimes necessary to debride the verruca, meaning that any hard skin is removed from the top of it. The probe is then applied directly to the skin for the microwave therapy.
The microwaves super heat the skin cells and cause a small amount of cell damage to the area. The idea is that we are provoking an immune reaction from your body. The HPV virus is extremely stubborn, your own body has a difficult time recognising that the cells in the foot are infected. Research shows that to get the best result from SWIFT microwave therapy, completing the course over three treatments is key. After the first treatment, the next 2 treatments are spaced 4 weeks apart. After the 3rd treatment we wait 12 weeks before the review. This evidence-based treatment plan is proven that at the 4-week intervals, the microwave therapy is intercepting the production of new infected cells before they have matured. On occasion there is a need for more than three treatments, 4th and 5th treatments have proven highly successful.
Benefits of SWIFT
It is a quick and easy treatment, without the need for aesthetic, dressing, acids or plasters. You can go swimming and take part in sports afterwards. Occasionally it can be mildly tender the day after, this is usually gone within 24 hours.
At the moment when the SWIFT probe fires out the microwaves, this does sting somewhat and can be quite uncomfortable, however, we would like to stress that this is only for the seconds that the microwaves are hitting the skin cells. Each site has to be treated 5 times, each time you have a treatment. So, depending on how many verruca’s you have got, depends on how many times the microwaves have to be applied. We use a stress ball and yoga breathing techniques to help to get you through it. Although on the whole most people cope with it very well.
In clinic we have has a lot of success with SWIFT, research shows that it is 76.6% effective in getting rid of verrucae. Our results in clinic would align with this evidence in that on average three quarters of cases are successful.
Does it hurt?
To put it simply, yes. SWIFT treatment is a fairly uncomfortable experience. Although there is no after pain, while the probe is in contact with the skin, it is quite a sharp pain. We have developed some great breathing techniques and have a stress ball for you to hold on to! Although it is painful, people do get through it.