Published online Apr 28, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.1921
Revised: March 13, 2009
Accepted: March 20, 2009
Published online: April 28, 2009
Anal stenosis is a rare but serious complication of anorectal surgery, most commonly seen after hemorrhoidectomy. Anal stenosis represents a technical challenge in terms of surgical management. A Medline search of studies relevant to the management of anal stenosis was undertaken. The etiology, pathophysiology and classification of anal stenosis were reviewed. An overview of surgical and non-surgical therapeutic options was developed. Ninety percent of anal stenosis is caused by overzealous hemorrhoidectomy. Treatment, both medical and surgical, should be modulated based on stenosis severity. Mild stenosis can be managed conservatively with stool softeners or fiber supplements. Sphincterotomy may be quite adequate for a patient with a mild degree of narrowing. For more severe stenosis, a formal anoplasty should be performed to treat the loss of anal canal tissue. Anal stenosis may be anatomic or functional. Anal stricture is most often a preventable complication. Many techniques have been used for the treatment of anal stenosis with variable healing rates. It is extremely difficult to interpret the results of the various anaplastic procedures described in the literature as prospective trials have not been performed. However, almost any approach will at least improve patient symptoms.