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Randomized clinical trial comparing oral nifedipine with lateral anal sphincterotomy and tailored sphincterotomy in the treatment of chronic anal fissure.

Author(s): Ho KS, Ho YH

Affiliation(s): Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore.

Publication date & source: 2005-04, Br J Surg., 92(4):403-8.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: The conventional treatment of chronic anal fissure is lateral sphincterotomy (LAS). The alternative options of tailored sphincterotomy (TS) and 'chemical sphincterotomy' using medication such as nifedipine have recently become available. METHODS: A prospective randomized trial was conducted to compare LAS with TS and oral nifedipine. The main endpoints were fissure healing, symptom relief, recurrence and continence. RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-two patients were treated and followed up for 4 months. LAS was significantly more effective than TS in providing pain relief (P = 0.004) and better patient satisfaction (P = 0.020) at 4 weeks. Surgery (LAS and TS) was associated with significantly better fissure healing rates (both P < 0.001 at 16 weeks) and less recurrence (both P = 0.003) than nifedipine. There were substantial problems with compliance in the nifedipine group (17 of 41 patients), related to side-effects and slow healing. There were no differences in continence between the three treatment groups. CONCLUSION: LAS was most effective in providing pain relief and allowing rapid fissure healing, with minimal recurrence and no increased risk of incontinence, in patients with good anal sphincter function.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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