Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
This leaflet tells you about a treatment called electrosurgery to remove the corn or verrucae on your foot.
What does electrosurgery involve?
Electrosurgery involves holding a small probe which gives out an electric current against your corn or verruca causing it to dry out (dessicate). The dry tissue is then easily removed with a scalpel. By carrying out this treatment, more of the corn or verruca can be removed than it would be with a standard treatment. A small wound below the corn or verruca is created, which normally heals within a few weeks.
Electrosurgery is performed under local anaesthetic. Injections are given around your ankle or in your foot to numb the skin and deeper nerves around the corn or verruca site. You will be awake during the electrosurgery but will not be able to see the procedure or feel any pain, apart from the injections.
Once your foot is numb, the electrosurgery will be performed. Following the procedure, a dressing will be applied to your foot.
The electrosurgery normally takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
What are the benefits of electrosurgery?
The benefits include removing the corn or verruca on your foot to:
- relieve pain
- try and prevent the problem recurring (happening again).
What are the risks and possible complications?
Risks and possible complications with this procedure are very rare but can include:
- Infection. It is important that you follow the advice given to you after your electrosurgery to avoid developing an infection. However, as you will have an open wound for several days there is a small risk that infection can occur. Signs of infection include heat, swelling and pain. If this happens you should contact the Podiatric Surgery Department or your GP immediately for antibiotics.
- Delayed healing. Healing can take between 4 and 8 weeks. Although you will be told how long your wound should take to heal, delays in healing can occur.
- Bleeding. Your foot may bleed after your electrosurgery. To reduce the risk of bleeding you should go home after your electrosurgery, rest and raise your foot. You will be given extra dressings to put on if the blood comes through the bandage. You must not take the dressing off. If the dressing comes off you should contact the Podiatric Surgery Department.
- Post-operative pain. Take a painkiller such as paracetamol, if your foot is painful after the local anaesthetic wears off.
- Nerve damage. This is usually temporary but can be permanent. Care is taken to avoid damage to the nerves in your foot during the local anaesthetic and your electrosurgery.
- Problems with local anaesthetic. A reaction to the local anaesthetic is rare and can happen to less than 1 patient in every 10,000.
- Scar tissue.
- Recurrence of your verruca or corn. Recurrence of verrucae can happen to 2 patients in every 10.² Recurrence of corns can happen to 6 patients in every 10.¹
How should I prepare for electrosurgery?
You must arrange for someone to take you home after the electrosurgery. You must not drive until the numbness in your foot has worn off as this may invalidate your car insurance.
- have something to eat before your electrosurgery appointment so you do not feel faint
- bring any inhalers for asthma or medication for angina with you to your appointment
- remove any nail varnish and acrylic nails from your toes
- remove any jewellery
- be able to return to work or school the day after your electrosurgery. If you think this may be a problem discuss this with your podiatrist
- rest your foot after the electrosurgery procedure to help prevent bleeding
- keep the dressing on your foot in place and dry until your next appointment. This is usually within 7 to 14 days following the procedure.
What other treatments are available?
Other treatments can include:
- No treatment
- Over the counter verruca and corn acid treatments
- Surgical excision of the corn or verruca
- Cryotherapy, which involves freezing the verruca with liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide gas
- Routine treatment of your corn or verruca by a podiatrist.
If you need advice or have any problems, please contact the Podiatric Surgery Department.
Podiatric Surgery Department
Specialist Services Administration Team
Ward 2, Floor 1, University Hospital Hartlepool
Holdforth Road, Hartlepool
Telephone: 01429 22471
Opening hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm
The College of Podiatry
Quartz House, 207 Providence Square
Mill Street, London
Telephone: 02072 348620
Further information is available from:
Telephone: 111 (when it is less urgent than 999).
Calls to this number are free from landlines and mobile phones or via the website.
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
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Telephone: 01642 617617
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Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet reference: PIL1314
Date for review: 9 June 2024