(Sphincterectomy, Anal; Surgery for Anal Fissures; Lateral Internal Sphincterotomy; LIS)
How to Say It: A-nul Sfink-ter-ot-o-me
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Anal sphincterotomy is surgery to treat chronic anal fissures. An anal fissure is a painful tear in the lining of the anus.
Reasons for Procedure
This surgery is done to ease muscle spasms that prevent fissures from healing.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
Description of Procedure
Any skin tags near the anal fissure will be removed. A cut will be made on the anal sphincter muscle. This will relax the sphincter and allow it to stretch, taking pressure off the fissure. A bandage will be placed over the area.
How Long Will It Take?
Less than 1 hour
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first few days. There may be some pain after bowel movements. It is often not as painful as it was before surgery. Medicine and home care can help.
At the Care Center
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
During your stay, staff will take steps to lower your chance of infection, such as:
You can also lower your chance of infection by:
It will take 6 weeks for the incision and muscles to fully heal. Physical activity may need to be limited during recovery. You may need to delay your return to work for up to 2 weeks.
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Anal fissure. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anal-fissure. Accessed October 20, 2020.
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 fissures. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/13177-anal-fissures. Accessed October 20, 2020.
Anal fissures. UCSF Medical Center website. Available at: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/anal_fissures. Accessed October 20, 2020.
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. Accessed October 20, 2020.
Higuero T. Update on the management of anal fissure. J Visc Surg. 2015 Apr;152(2 Suppl):S37-43.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 5/14/2021
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