Background: Surgeons often approach anal fissure with chemical denervation (Botulinum toxin, BT) instead of initial lateral internal sphincterotomy (LIS) due to concerns for long-term incontinence. We evaluated the characteristics and outcomes of patients who received BT or LIS.
Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of patients undergoing LIS and BT for anal fissure between 2009 and 2015. In 2015, a telephone survey was performed to evaluate durability, long-term incontinence and patient satisfaction.
Results: Ninety-four patients met criteria: 73 LIS and 21 BT. Age (BT 49 vs. LIS 52) was similar between groups (p = 1.0). Cleveland Clinic Fecal Incontinence (CCFI) score pre-intervention was higher in BT than LIS patients (2.1 vs. 0.4, p = 0.007) with fewer BT patients with perfect continence (50% vs. 88%). Telephone survey response was 61%. Fissure recurrence was significantly higher for BT than LIS patients (36% vs. 9%, p = 0.03).
Conclusion: Patients undergoing LIS were less likely to recur. Both LIS and BT patients had some durable changes in continence raising the question of whether there is a safe technique.
Keywords: Anal fissure; Anorectal disease; Sphincterotomy.
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