Lateral internal sphincterotomy is a surgery that treats an anal fissure, a tear in the opening of the anus that can cause pain, itching, and bleeding. We treat an anal fissure with surgery when it has not improved with medicine or other more conservative treatments.
During the surgery, the surgeon puts a lighted tube (scope) into the anus to enable viewing of the inside of the anus. Special surgical tools are guided through the scope into the anus. An incision is made to the internal anal sphincter to relieve tension with the muscle which reduces spasms and pain. Once pressure is alleviated, the anal fissure is more likely to heal. Patients are sent home the same day of surgery and can expect symptoms to subside completely. Typically, pain goes away within several days after surgery. But it will take about 6 weeks for the anus to completely heal.