One of the most common benign anal conditions is anal tags. These are just stretched skin around the anal area, usually as a result of past or existing haemorrhoids. There are NOT actual haemorrhoids but a remnant of skin from swelling associated with haemorrhoid disease in the past. Other conditions where anal tags are observed are in patients with Crohn’s disease.
Most common symptoms associated with this condition are itchiness, discomfort, difficulty wiping clean and cosmetic concerns. Although skin tags are completely benign (i.e. do not harm you in any way), most patients, especially women, are very keen for their removal.
Removal of skin tag is straightforward but must be done by a specialist who knows the anatomy of the anal canal. It can be done under local or general anaesthetic. In my practice, this is a ‘walk-in, walk out’ office-based treatment and is well tolerated under local anaesthetic.
Risks associated with the procedure include infection, pain, bleeding, non-healing wound and recurrence of the anal tags. Swelling after the procedure is very common, and for the first few weeks, it is not uncommon to feel as if there are more ‘tags’ than before. Depending on the degree and duration of the postoperative swelling, the skin around the anal canal can stretch, and new tags may form.