Anal sphincterotomy is a procedure to treat chronic anal fissures. An
is a painful tear in the lining of the anus. The anus is the opening through which stool passes from the body. Tears generally occur just inside the opening.
If there are any skin tags near the fissure, they will be removed. Next, the doctor will carefully make a cut on the anal sphincter muscle. This will relax the sphincter and allow it to stretch, taking pressure off the fissure. The doctor will put on a dressing to stop the bleeding.
How Long Will It Take?
Less than one hour
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesetics will prevent pain during the procedure. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
At the Care Center
You may be given pain medications and instructions for how to care for your rectal area. A nurse may change your dressing or instruct you on how to change it.
During your stay, the care center staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
Not allowing others to touch your incision
When you return home, you will need to take steps to promote healing and prevent infection. These will include:
Keeping the rectal area clean
Using a sitz bath to ease discomfort and cleaning
Avoiding sexual activity and heavy lifting until your doctor says it is okay
Your doctor may advise:
Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers
Stool softeners and dietary changes (including drinking more water) to prevent
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
Large amounts of bleeding from the rectum
Foul-smelling drainage from the rectum
Excessive swelling in the rectal area
Inability to control bowel movements
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Anal fissure expanded information. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/anal-fissure-expanded-information. Accessed April 3, 2018.
Anal fissure treatments. University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, UW Health website. Available at: https://www.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/surgery/5467.html. Updated November 16, 2016. Accessed April 3, 2018.
Anal fissures. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/13177-anal-fissures. Updated April 24, 2014. Accessed April 3, 2018.
Anal fissures. UCSF Medical Center website. Available at: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/anal_fissures. Accessed April 3, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 5/8/2014
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.