What are anal warts?
Anal warts are small growths of skin that appear around your anus. They are fairly common, and may be cut away using a surgical blade (scalpel), a laser or a heated instrument, depending on the size and location of the warts. The four options available are below.
Electrocautery, also known as diathermy – warts are burnt off using a low-voltage electric current through a thin wire or probe. This method immediately seals the blood vessels, so no stitches are needed.
Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) – this is similar to electrocautery, but the wire or probe has a loop on the end to remove the warts.
Surgical removal – warts are cut away using a scalpel. Dissolvable stitches are used to close the wound.
Laser ablation – a high-energy beam of light destroys the warts. It seals blood vessels so you won't need stitches.
Warts are caused by a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus infects the top layers of your skin. It is recommended that warts are removed since they can grow and spread, causing discomfort and affecting your bowel movements.
Removing the warts does not mean you are free from HPV. The virus can live in normal tissue for up to six months. This means you may still be infectious after this operation and warts may re-occur, needing further treatment.
Surgery to remove anal warts is usually done under general anaesthesia. If the warts are very small you may have a local anaesthetic. This means you will be awake but the area will be numb. Usually, the operation is done as a day-case, requiring no overnight stay.