Anal Fissures & Fistulas

What is an Anal Abscess?

An anal abscess is an infected cavity filled with pus located near the opening of the anal canal. Symptoms of an anal abscess include constant pain and swelling. Other possible symptoms include fever, feeling poorly, and drainage of pus. By draining the pus from the infected cavity with an incision, your UT Physicians Colon and Rectal Surgeon can effectively treat this abscess. Often, we conduct the treatment in our office using a local anesthetic. A large or deep abscess might need to be drained in the operating room. Sometimes a small catheter remains in the incision for several days to ensure adequate drainage. Antibiotics alone are not an alternative to draining the pus.

What is an Anal Fistula?

An anal fistula will form in about 50 percent of all abscess cases. An anal fistula is usually the result of a previous abscess. It is a persistent abnormal passage or tunnel between the interior of the anal canal or rectum and the skin surface where the abscess drains. If the outside opening of the tunnel heals, recurrent abscesses develop. UT Physicians Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommend surgery to cure an anal fistula. While some anal fistulas are simple to treat, others require special attention to limit any damage to the sphincter muscles. A complicated fistula may require repair using a flap of tissue or new products like plasma-rich protein (PRP)/Amniotic fluid.

What is an Anal Fissure?

An anal fissure is a small tear or cuts in the skin lining the anus, which can cause pain and/or bleeding. The pain typically is sharp and is worse with bowel movements. The most common cause is a hard, dry bowel movement. Other causes of an anal fissure include diarrhea and inflammation of the anorectal area. Anal fissures may be acute (recent onset) or chronic (present for a long time or recurring frequently). Spasm of the anal sphincter muscles contributes to the pain and hinders healing. Over 90% of acute anal fissures managed with non-operative treatments will heal without surgery. Chronic fissures may require your Surgeon to perform surgery where a small portion of the sphincter muscle is cut to relieve the spasm and allow healing. In some cases, our team will offer patients Botox injections to aid in recovery.