There are several treatment methods available for healing anal fissures, including anal dilation ( also known as the Lord’s Operation). Lord’s Operation, or stretching of the anal canal, is an older method of treating fissures. It has fallen out of favor in recent years, primarily due to an unacceptably high incidence of fecal incontinence. In addition, anal stretching can increase the rate of flatus incontinence.
Our surgeons educate patients on all the available treatment methods so they can make informed decisions about their own health. With years of education, training and research under their belts, our doctors know what procedures offer the best results. This is why it is crucial to meet our colorectal experts in person to discuss your surgical options for treating anal fissures.
To learn more about fissures and other colorectal conditions, please visit WebMD.com for more information.
How Anal Dilation Works
Anal stretching is a procedure in which doctors manually stretch the anal sphincter in order to relieve the pressure. When performed correctly, it can provide immediate pain relief from fissures. The procedure can involve either general or localized anesthesia.
After donning gloves, the doctor first lubricates the anal area. Using fingers, the doctor will massage and apply correct pressure on the constricting band of muscle. This will continue until the muscle stretches and expands enough to provide reduced pressure overall. This is done gradually to avoid tearing the muscle fibers. At the conclusion, a small sponge may be inserted to reduce blood clot formation. Patients will then utilize an anal dilator intermittently for a period of 6 months.
Since the sphincter muscle has been stretched and the resulting anal passage enlarged, the pressure on the hemorrhoid tissues will be reduced, resulting in fewer symptoms. Additionally, stool passage should be much easier.
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The Risks of Anal Dilation
The risks of this procedure include:
- Fecal incontinence or anal leakage due to excessive force used during the procedure
- Damage to the sphincter
- Tearing of the rectal tissue
- Blood clots
- Higher failure rate
Anal Dilation FAQs
Q: Why is lateral internal sphincterotomy preferred over anal dilation?
A: This condition is less commonly performed than LIS due to a significant risk of incontinence and increased flatulence.
Q: Under what circumstances would my doctor perform anal dilation?
A: This procedure is being performed less frequently due to its associated risks. Our surgeons may advise alternative methods of treatment that are minimally invasive, offer a reduction in risk and bear a higher success rate.
Q: If anal stretching is not for me, then what options do I have to treat my fissures?
A: By scheduling an initial consultation, our physicians can recommend both non-invasive and surgical alternatives. There are various ways to treat fissures, and our doctors can advise you on the best course of treatment for you.
Contact the Fissure & Fistula Center
Not all treatment methods are appropriate for every patient. During your personal consultation, a colorectal surgeon can evaluate your medical history and conduct a physical exam in order to provide you with a personalized treatment plan. Contact us today at and schedule your appointment.
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