What is an anal fissure?

Updated: Dec 15, 2017
  • Author: Lisa Susan Poritz, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, AGAF  more...
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Answer

An anal fissure is a painful linear tear or crack in the distal anal canal, which, in the short term, usually involves only the epithelium and, in the long term, involves the full thickness of the anal mucosa. Anal fissures develop with equal frequency in both sexes; they tend to occur in younger and middle-aged persons.

Failure of medical therapy is an indication for surgical therapy. Controversy mostly involves continued efforts to find a medical therapy for anal fissure that is as successful as the surgical therapy for the condition.

For patient education resources, see the Digestive Disorders Center, as well as Anal Abscess, Rectal Pain, and Rectal Bleeding.


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