What are anal tags, and what causes them?
Anal tags are the shapeless lumps/flaps of skin and tissue found at the anal verge. They’re quite common and usually come with other anorectal problems, such as hemorrhoids or anal fissures. Previous anorectal problems, such as swelling from untreated external hemorrhoids, can lead to the development of anal tags.
The anal tag normally starts off as a painless, soft lump near the opening of the anus. However, if the lump proves to be painful, an associated rectal condition may be the underlying cause. Cleanliness may also contribute to the problem, as fecal debris can become trapped under the tag when you wipe in one direction. Itching often worsens the condition.
What is a sentinel tag?
A sentinel tag is a type of skin tag located at the inferior border of an anal infection or injury. Sentinel tags usually develop from anal fissures and fistulas.
How do I treat anal tags?
Anal tags that cause itching, anxiety or hygienic issues can usually be removed. If the tags are small, a local anesthetic is injected, and the area is cut out. A radiofrequency device is used to remove skin tabs and resurface the anal area to acquire a good cosmetic result.
If a patient is already scheduled to undergo a hemorrhoidectomy, anal tags can be removed as part of the hemorrhoidectomy process. However, if the anal tag is extensive, two stages of surgery may be needed.