Pediatric Anal Fissure/Fistulotomy/Sphincterotomy Surgery
What is an anal fissure?
An anal fissure is a tear in the skin inside the
anal canal. When this skin is torn, you may
have pain with each bowel movement and
pass bright red blood.
What is a sphincterotomy?
Sphincterotomy allows a fissure or fistula to
heal. A small part of the anal sphincter
muscle is cut to open the anal canal. This
relieves pressure when you move your
bowels and allows a fissure to heal.
What is a fistula?
An infection of the gland inside the anus can
cause it to fill with pus. This is an abscess.
After an abscess is drained, there may be a
tunnel from the anus to the skin. This is a
fistula. It can cause pain, fever, and
What is a fistulotomy?
A fistulotomy is surgery to open a fistula
and allow it to heal.
ξ Give your child a sitz bath at least 2-
4 times a day and after each bowel
movement. This will help decrease
the pain of rectal spasms and aid
healing. Sit in a bathtub of warm
water for about 10 minutes.
ξ Avoid hard wiping of the anal area
for the first few days. Do not use
toilet paper, instead, use alcohol-free
baby wipes or plain moist wash
ξ Your child may have reddish-yellow
drainage from the rectum for at least
The doctor may order pain medicine for
Avoid constipation while your child is
taking pain medicine. Your child may need
to take a stool softener such as Miralax® to
prevent constipation. These will help the
stool pass more easily.
When to call the doctor
ξ Large amount of bright red blood
from the rectum that does not stop
with pressure to the rectum for 10
ξ Temperature over 100.4ºF for 2
readings taken 4 hours apart. Take
your child’s temperature once a day
for a week.
Pediatric Surgery Clinic: (608) 263-6420,
option 1, Mon-Fri 8:00 am-4:30 pm
After hours, holidays and weekends, this
will give you the paging operator. Ask for
the doctor on call for Dr. _____________.
Leave your name and phone number with
the area code. The doctor will call you
Toll Free: 800-323-8942
Your health care team may have given you this
information as part of your care. If so, please use it
and call if you have any questions. If this information
was not given to you as part of your care, please
check with your doctor. This is not medical advice.
This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of
any medical condition. Because each person’s health
needs are different, you should talk with your doctor
or others on your health care team when using this
information. If you have an emergency, please call
911. Copyright © 8/2017 University of Wisconsin
Hospitals and Authority. Produced by the Department
of Nursing. HF#6808