Uncontrolled trials indicate that treatment of condylomata acuminata with the carbon dioxide laser is effective and probably superior to conventional surgical treatment. We performed a controlled study of refractory condylomata acuminata to clarify whether this is the case. In this randomised trial 21 patients were treated with the carbon dioxide laser and 22 by conventional surgery after having been treated with podophyllin for an average of 33 and 35 weeks respectively. Five and seven patients respectively had previously required additional treatment, such as an operation. The treatment schedule was equally effective for both groups of patients. No difference between the two groups was seen in numbers of recurrences, postoperative pain, healing time, and rate of scar formation (p greater than 0.1-0.2). Treatment of recalcitrant condylomata acuminata with the carbon dioxide laser did not offer any advantages over traditional surgery, including electrocautery.
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