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An anal fissure is a tear in the skin lining the inside of the anus which can be caused by constipation. If a fissure does not heal on its own, surgical treatment can help.

Why you might need it

Once the skin lining the inside of the anus has a tear, the muscle underneath it can go into spasm. This tightens the anus further making it more painful and difficult to open your bowels, particularly if you remain constipated. You may also find that you pass blood and have a sore anus for a few hours after each bowel movement.

Some fissures heal on their own and this healing process can be helped by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and drinking lots of fluid to avoid constipation. Surgery may be needed if they don't heal on their own.

According to clinical sources, as well as constipation, other triggers for an anal fissure can include inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, persistent diarrhoea, pregnancy and childbirth, having tight sphincter muscles and - occasionally - a sexually transmitted infection such as herpes or syphilis.

We pride ourselves on our clinical excellence, you'll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

 

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

 

The procedure

Anal sphincterotomy surgery is done under general anaesthesia, which means you'll be asleep during the procedure and will feel no pain.

During the procedure, your surgeon will make a cut in the ring of muscle (the sphincter) that controls the opening and closing of the anus. This will relax the sphincter and help prevent spasm. This means you will need to strain less when you go to the toilet, allowing the fissure to heal.

Your surgeon will make the cut in such a way that it should not allow the anus to open too easily and affect your continence (the ability to control gas and bowel movements).

Afterwards, a pad dressing will be put into your anus to help stop bleeding.

Aftercare

The operation to treat an anal fissure is usually performed as a day-case, but sometimes you may need to stay overnight in hospital.

After the procedure, you will be taken from the operating theatre to a recovery room, where you will come round from the anaesthesia under close supervision. 

After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you're ready to go home.


Pain relief

After an operation to repair an anal fissure, you are likely to feel sore for a number of days. If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital. 

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.


Recovery time

The wound can take up to four weeks to heal, after which time you should be able to resume normal activities.


How your loved ones can help

Once you're ready to be discharged from hospital, you'll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won't be able to drive.


Looking after you

Even after you've left hospital, we're still looking after you every step of the way. After surgery for an anal fissure, we will provide you with advice and follow-up support.

At your follow-up appointment your surgeon will decide whether you need to continue with daily dressings.

On rare occasions, complications following surgery for an anal fissure can occur. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health. We will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, we're ready to help.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

You can trust Spire Edinburgh Hospitals Murrayfield and Shawfair Park to provide you with a single, fixed price (1) so there are no surprises. And, through our carefully chosen partner (2) you can even be considered for interest free finance.

We’re here to help you with making these important choices, so you’re then free to concentrate on your treatment and on getting back to being you.

(1) Important: Please read Spire’s terms and conditions for full details of what’s included and excluded in your fixed price* when paying for yourself.

(2) Zebra Finance Ltd trading as Zebra Health Finance , Lincoln House, Stephensons Way, Wyvern Business Park, Derby, DE21 6LY. 

You can have this treatment at:

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.