How is a papilloma treated?

Some types of papilloma do not require treatment and may disappear on their own. When treatment is needed, it varies depending on the specific type, size and location of the papilloma. For example:

  • Skin warts and genital warts may be treated with topical medications or procedures, such as cryotherapy (freezing with a chemical) or laser surgery. Skin warts may also be removed by excision (cutting away the wart or removing it with electricity).

  • Surgical removal is a primary treatment for papillomas of the brain, breast ducts, and respiratory tract.

What are the potential complications of a papilloma?

Complications of papilloma vary depending on their location, size, and underlying cause. Controlling your risk factors for papilloma and regularly visiting your physician are the best prevention for potential complications. Complications of papillomas include:

  • Adverse effects of treatment
  • Embarrassment
  • Hydrocephalus (high levels of fluid in the brain or “water on the brain”)
  • Increased risk of catching other sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other infections with HPV
  • Permanent brain damage from a papilloma in the brain
  • Permanent scarring or skin discoloration
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Severe respiratory obstruction and respiratory distress
  • Spread of cancer


  1. Choroid Plexus Papilloma. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
  2. Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  4. HPV and Cancer. National Cancer Institute.
  5. Intraductal papilloma. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH.
  6. Kelfkens, G., de Gruijl, F.R., van der Leun, J.C. Tumorigenesis by short-wave ultraviolet A: papillomas versus squamous cell carcinomas. Carcinogenesis. 1991:12(8):1377-82.
  7. Papilloma. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Venes, D. ed. 21st Ed. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company; 2009.
  8. What is Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis? Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis Foundation.
  9. Ferri FF (Ed.) Ferri’s Fast Facts in Dermatology. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier, 2011.

What is a papilloma?

Papilloma is a general medical term for a tumor of the skin or mucous membrane with finger-like projections. Some papillomas behave like neoplasms. While the vast majority of papillomas are benign (noncancerous), they can occasionally be dysplastic (precancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Papillomas can occur in areas throughout the body. Papillomas on the skin (cutaneous papillom... Read more about papillomaintroduction


What are the symptoms of a papilloma?

Papillomas can occur on the skin and inside the mouth, throat (recurrent respiratory papillomatosis) and nose. They can also occur in and around the genitals and anus (genital warts) and in the female breast ducts. Symptoms of papillomas vary depending on where they occur in the body.

Symptoms ... Read more about papillomasymptoms


What causes a papilloma?

Most papillomas are caused by a human papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 150 different strains of HPVs. Skin warts and genital warts are also caused by HPVs. HPVs that cause skin warts are not easily spread from person to person. However, HPVs that cause genital warts are passed very easily through sexual contact. HPVs can also cause recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) in which papillo... Read more about papillomacauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails

Top Features in Skin, Hair and Nails

15 Ways To Get Better Medicine

People who are actively involved in their medical care stay healthier, recover quicker when they're ill, and live longer, healthier lives.