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What is Anal Dysplasia?

Anal dysplasia is a condition where some of the cells in the anal canal have become abnormal. This cell change is associated with past exposure to HPV (human papillomavirus).

HPV can cause anal and genital warts (Condyloma), as well as abnormal cell growth called dysplasia. Certain forms of untreated dysplasia can lead to anal cancer in some people.

What Are the Symptoms of Anal Dysplasia?

Anal dysplasia often causes no signs or symptoms. When there are symptoms present, they can include:

  • Anal pain
  • Anal bleeding
  • Anal itching
  • A feeling like there is a bump in your anus

What Groups Are at the Highest Risk for Developing Anal Dysplasia? 

  • Patients living with HIV
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Transgender women
  • Women with a history of cervical/vaginal/vulvar dysplasia, or women with a history of cervical/vaginal/vulvar cancer
  • Patients who have a history of solid organ transplant (ie liver or kidney)
  • Patients with a history of known human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Patients on chronic immunosuppression or steroids

UR Medicine's Treatments for Anal Dysplasia

With our specially trained and certified providers, UR Medicine’s Strong Anal Dysplasia Clinic offers the latest diagnostic testing and treatment for anal dysplasia. 


Our anal dysplasia screening includes:

  • Anal Pap – a small swab is used to collect some of the surface cells from the anal canal. These cells are sent to the Cytology lab for evaluation.
  • High-Resolution Anoscopy (HRA) – a thin, hollow tube called an anoscope is coated with numbing gel and inserted about 3 inches into the anal canal. A microscope called a colposcope (which does not go inside the anal canal) is used by the provider to magnify and examine the tissue for any abnormal cells. Liquid stains are also used to help identify any abnormal cells.
  • Anal Biopsy – if needed, a tiny (2mm) sample of tissue is taken during the exam of any abnormal cells that may have been found. The biopsy sample is sent to the Pathology lab to be evaluated. After the biopsy, there may be some occasional bleeding or discomfort for 1-2 days, usually with bowel movements. Written instructions are provided for post-biopsy care.

The biopsy report may be negative or describe a grade of dysplasia. Low-grade dysplasia does not need treatment unless it is a benign wart (Condyloma). High-grade dysplasia, considered pre-cancerous, requires treatment to prevent the abnormal cells from progressing to cancer.


Our anal dysplasia treatment includes:

  • Hyfrecation ablation destroys the abnormal high-grade dysplasia cells. It is a simple procedure that is done in the office. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area before the treatment. No prep is required, and no sedation is given.
  • Condyloma, or warts, can be treated with a cream or ablation.

After treatment, you may need periodic surveillance to monitor for additional areas of dysplasia. Although anal dysplasia can be treated successfully, it can sometimes return in a few months or a few years. It is important to follow up with regular screenings with your dysplasia care team.

What Sets Us Apart?

When high-grade anal dysplasia is treated early, it can prevent cancer. At the UR Medicine Strong Dysplasia Clinic, we offer the most effective screenings and treatments for anal dysplasia.

Our team of experts specialize in what’s needed to care patients with anal dysplasia. We coordinate care tailored to the needs of patients and families, in partnership with other providers. As part of an academic medical center, our clinicians are also active in research.


Our care team is here for you. Find a UR Medicine expert and get care now.

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We serve you in the Rochester metropolitan area and surrounding region.

1 location

Dysplasia Clinic - Rochester

Ambulatory Care Center at Strong Memorial Hospital
601 Elmwood Avenue, 2nd Floor
Rochester, NY 14642

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