Lateral internal sphincterotomy is a surgical procedure performed to treat anal fissures. An anal fissure is a tear in the tissue lining the anus, and is associated with pain and bleeding during bowel movements. The internal anal sphincter muscle is always under tension, but increased pressure can lead to the development of anal fissures or prevent an existing fissure from healing.
Lateral internal sphincterotomy is indicated when conservative treatment measures fail to heal the fissure. It is performed on an outpatient basis under local or general anesthesia. Your doctor makes a small incision in the internal anal sphincter. The incision in the muscle reduces the pressure, allowing the fissure to heal. The incision is either stitched with dissolvable stitches or is left open to heal naturally.
As with any procedure, lateral internal sphincterotomy may involve certain risks and complications such as incontinence of gas or stool, pain, bleeding, infection at the incision site and difficulty passing urine.