Most anal fissures can be treated successfully with conservative measures, which include stool softeners and warm soaks. The goal is to relax the anal sphincter, which allows the fissure to heal. If these methods are ineffective, surgery is necessary. This is called an internal sphincterotomy, a procedure in which the anal sphincter is partially cut, thus allowing it to relax and permitting the fissure to heal.
Review Date 5/6/2022
Updated by: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.