II. Pathophysiology

  1. Usually follows Trauma or Diarrheal illness
  2. Chronic increase in resting anal pressure
    1. Increased anodermal blood flow causes fissures
  3. Relative ischemia in posteromedial anal region

III. Epidemiology

  1. Affects young and middle-aged adults
  2. Men and women are equally affected

IV. Symptoms

  1. Onset after forced hard Bowel Movement
  2. Bright red rectal bleeding
  3. Pain during Bowel Movement
    1. Cut with sharp glass sensation
    2. Pain persists for an hour after stooling

V. Signs

  1. See Anorectal Exam
  2. Avoid Anoscopy if possible
    1. Painful and usually not needed
    2. Use Local Anesthesia if performed
  3. Crack or crevice in anoderm at anal verge
    1. Usually in canal midline (anterior or posterior)
    2. Lateral suggests other diagnosis (see differential diagnosis below)
    3. Best seen with lateral traction on opposite buttock
  4. Sentinel pile (distal Skin Tag)
    1. Tag-like swelling of fissure end
    2. Results from infection and edema

VI. Differential Diagnosis

  1. See Anorectal Pain
  2. Conditions resulting in lateral Anal Fissure
    1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (e.g. Crohn's Disease)
    2. HIV Infection
    3. Tuberculosis
    4. Syphilis
    5. Leukemia
    6. Anorectal cancer

VII. Management: Medical

  1. Early Management (especially if <4 weeks)
    1. Bulk Dietary Fiber to 30 grams/day
    2. Increase fluid intake 64 ounces/day
    3. Sitz baths
    4. Topical Hydrocortisone (e.g. Proctofoam HC)
    5. Xylocaine 5%
    6. Glyceryl Trinitrate ointment (compounded by pharmacist)
      1. Apply 0.2% twice daily for 6 weeks
      2. See Rectal Nitroglycerin (Glyceryl Trinitrate, Rectiv)
      3. McLeod (2002) J Gastrointest Surg 6(3): 278-80 [PubMed]
  2. Late Management (>3 months)
    1. Difficult to treat if persistent beyond 3 months
    2. Topical Calcium Channel Blocker
      1. Preparations (compounded by pharmacist)
        1. Topical Nifedipine 0.3% or 0.5% and Lidocaine 1.5% ointment or
        2. Topical Diltiazem 2% and Lidocaine 1.5% ointment
      2. Dosing
        1. Apply twice daily for 6 weeks
      3. Efficacy
        1. Resulted in 94.5% rate of healing
        2. Perrotti (2002) Dis Colon Rectum 45:1468-75 [PubMed]

VIII. Management: Invasive procedures

  1. Indications
    1. Failure to improve after two cycles of topical Calcium Channel Blocker (see above)
  2. Lateral sphincterotomy (preferred)
    1. Efficacy
      1. Fissures heal in 96% of cases
      2. Patients satisfied in 98% of cases
    2. Complications
      1. Recurrent Anal Fissures: 8%
      2. Severe anal Incontinence: 1% (more common in women)
    3. References
      1. Nyam (1999) Dis Colon Rectum 42:1306 [PubMed]
  3. Botulinum Toxin Injection
    1. Unclear long term efficacy
    2. Dosing
      1. Initial: Botulinum Toxin 40 units
      2. Next: Botulinum Toxin 40 units
    3. Adverse effects
      1. Short term Fecal Incontinence in 5-7%
      2. Long term flatus Incontinence is uncommon
    4. References
      1. Arroyo (2005) Am J Surg 189:429-34 [PubMed]
      2. Brisinda (2007) Br J Surg 94(2): 162-7 [PubMed]

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Ontology: Anal Fissure (C0016167)

Definition (NCI) A painful tear in the lining of the anal canal, often accompanied by bleeding on defecation. It is usually the result of a traumatic bowel movement or anal sexual penetration.
Definition (NCI_CTCAE) A disorder characterized by a circumscribed, inflammatory and necrotic erosive lesion on the mucosal surface of the anal canal.
Definition (MSH) A painful linear ulcer at the margin of the anus. It appears as a crack or slit in the mucous membrane of the anus and is very painful and difficult to heal. (Dorland, 27th ed & Stedman, 25th ed)
Concepts Acquired Abnormality (T020)
MSH D005401
ICD9 565.0
ICD10 K60.2 , K62.81
SnomedCT 54046004, 155791009, 197225001, 20928004, 30037006
English Fissure in Ano, Anal Ulcer, Anal Ulcers, Ulcer, Anal, Ulcers, Anal, ANAL FISSURE, ANAL ULCER, Fissure, Anal, Anal fissure, unspecified, Anal ulcer unspecified, Anal Fissure, anal ulcer (diagnosis), anal fissure (diagnosis), anal ulcer, anal fissure, anal ulcer (___ cm), Fissure anal, Ulcer anal, Ulceration of anus, ulcer of anus (physical finding), ulcer of anus, Tear of anus, nontraumatic, Fissure in Ano [Disease/Finding], anal fissures, Fissure;anal, fissure in ano, fissure-in-ano, anal ulcers, Fissure-in-ano, Anal ulcer unspecified (disorder), Anal mucosal ulcer, Anal fissure, Nontraumatic tear of anus, Solitary ulcer of anus, Ulcer of anus, Anal ulcer, Fissure in ano, Anal fissure (disorder), Ulcer of anus (disorder), fissure; anus, ulcer; anus, anus; fissure, anus; ulcer
French FISSURE ANALE, Ulcération de l'anus, ULCERE ANAL, Fissure anale, Ulcère anal, Fissure de l'anus, Ulcère de l'anus
Portuguese FISSURA ANAL, ULCERA ANAL, Fissura do ânus, Ulceração do ânus, Fissura anal, Úlcera anal, Fissura Anal, Úlcera Anal
Dutch verzwering van de anus, zweer anaal, fissure in ano, fissuur anaal, anus; fissuur, anus; ulcus, fissuur; anus, ulcus; anus, Fissura ani, niet gespecificeerd, anaal ulcus, anale fissuur, Anaal ulcus, Anale fissuur, Anusfissuur, Fissura ani
German Fissur anal, Fissur in ano, Ulzeration des Anus, Ulkus anal, ANALFISSUR, Analfissur, nicht naeher bezeichnet, ULKUS ANAL, Analfissur, Analulkus, Fissura ani
Italian Ulcerazione dell'ano, Ulcera anale, Ragade anale
Spanish Fisura en ano, Ulceración de ano, fisura en el ano, úlcera anal no especificada (trastorno), úlcera anal no especificada, desgarramiento atraumático del ano, fisura anal (trastorno), fisura anal, úlcera anal, úlcera del ano (trastorno), úlcera del ano, úlcera solitaria del ano, Fisura anal, Úlcera anal, Fisura Anal, Fisura del Ano, Úlcera Anal
Swedish Analfissur
Japanese コウモンレッショウ, レッコウ, コウモンカイヨウ, 肛門潰瘍, 裂肛, 肛門裂傷, 肛門裂創
Czech fissura ani, Řitní vřed, Anální ulcerace, Anální trhlina, Anální vřed
Finnish Peräaukon haavauma
Russian ANAL'NAIA TRESHCHINA, ANUSA TRESHCHINA, ANAL'NAIA IAZVA, АНАЛЬНАЯ ТРЕЩИНА, АНАЛЬНАЯ ЯЗВА, АНУСА ТРЕЩИНА
Korean 상세불명의 항문 열구
Croatian ANALNA FISURA, FISSURA ANI, ANUS, FISURA, FISSURA IN ANO
Polish Szczeliny odbytu, Rozpadliny odbytu
Hungarian Analis fekély, Analis fissura, Fissura ani, Végbélnyílás-hasadék, Végbél fekély, Anus ulceratiója
Norwegian Analfissur, Sprekk i endetarmsåpningen, Rift i endetarmsåpningen