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A sphincterotomy is surgery to help relax your anal sphincter. The anal sphincter is the ring of muscles that form your anus. Your anal sphincter controls the passage of bowel movements.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

During your surgery:

General or spinal anesthesia will keep you free from pain during surgery. Your surgeon will use a scope to see your sphincter clearly. He or she will cut the sphincter muscles. Once your sphincter is cut, the pressure will be released and the muscles will relax. Your surgeon may close the cut with stitches or leave it open to heal.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. Medicines may help decrease pain, relax your anal muscles, and soften your bowel movements.


You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. You may pass more gas than usual or feel an urge to have a bowel movement. You may have diarrhea or trouble controlling your bowel movements. Your sphincter or other parts of your intestines may be damaged. Scar tissue may form and cause anal stenosis, or narrowing of your anus. You may need another surgery to correct these problems.


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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