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Sphincterotomy

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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.

HOW TO PREPARE:

Before your surgery:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home when you are discharged.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.
  • You may need blood tests. You may also need an ultrasound or a scope to measure the tightness of your sphincter. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your surgery:

You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight.

The day of your surgery:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Take only the medicines your surgeon told you to take.
  • An IV will be placed into a vein. You may be given medicine or liquid through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

What will happen:

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.

CONTACT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IF:

  • You have anal spasms that do not stop.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Risks

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.

Care Agreement

Follow up with your doctor 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.