An anal fissure is a small tear or ulcer that develops in the mucosa (thin lining of tissue) of the anus. Tears that are severe or extend into the anal canal may require non-surgical and surgical treatment.
Non-surgical treatment options generally include:
- Stool softeners
- Warm baths following a bowel movement
- Topical steroid ointments
- Topical muscle relaxants
- Topical anesthetics
- Lubricant suppositories
Rarely, a Botox® injection will be considered to treat the fissure. A lateral internal sphincterotomy is a surgical treatment option that cuts a small portion of the internal anal sphincter. This procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia.
Similar to a fistulotomy, there is a low incidence of temporary or permanent fecal incontinence in patients who undergo this procedure. With any anorectal surgery, there is a chance of recurrence, so it’s important patients speak to their doctor about post-operative care.