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This procedure, also known as a 'lateral internal sphincterotomy', is a treatment option for a chronic anal fissure. Patients with an anal fissure - a tear in the anal lining - are initially treated using non-surgical approaches and it only where these have not worked that an anal sphincterotomy is required.

A chronic anal fissure can develop where blood flow to the fissure is reduced due to a spasm of the internal anal sphincter muscle. The procedure involves a small incision (a few millimetres) to this muscle, which has the effect of increasing natural blood flow to the fissure, which in turn helps it to heal normally.