Anal warts (also called condyloma acuminata) are small growths of skin that appear around the anus. They can be removed and may be cut away using a surgical blade, a laser or a heated instrument, depending on their size and location.
Anal warts (genital warts) are caused by a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV), which infects the top layers of your skin. They should be removed since they can grow and spread, causing discomfort, and can affect your bowel movements.
Removing the warts doesn't 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.
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You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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Surgery to remove anal warts is usually done under general anaesthesia, which means you'll be asleep during the procedure and will feel no pain. If the warts are very small you may have a local anaesthetic, which means you'll be awake but the area will be numb. The procedure can take up to 45 minutes.
There are four options available for treating anal warts:
Usually, surgery for anal warts is done as a day-case so you won't need to stay overnight in hospital.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
If you are sore, you may need painkillers. Please discuss any discomfort with your nurse. You may be prescribed a mild laxative to make bowel movements easier. When you feel ready, you can begin to drink and eat, starting with clear fluids. If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
You may feel sore for several days. Your recovery time depends on how much surgery you had, but you should be able to go back to work within a few days. You can expect complete recovery in three weeks, by which time you should be able to resume normal activities.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. After surgery for anal warts, we will provide you with advice and follow-up support.
You will be given a date for a follow-up appointment and be monitored to see if the warts reoccur.
On rare occasions, complications following surgery for anal warts can occur. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, we're ready to help.
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The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
Spire Harpenden Hospital is only able to provide Covid-19 tests to patients undergoing surgery at our hospital. Covid-19 testing or antibody tests are not available as a standalone service.