What the difference between anal fissure and anal fistula?

Tear / tract. A fissure is s a tear in the anal mucosa. A fistula is a tunnel deeper in the tissues with one opening on the outside and another opening on the inside of the anal canal or lower rectum.
Tear versus tunnel. An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anal canal, just inside the opening, and is characterized by painful bowel movements and rectal bleeding. An anal fistula is a tunnel from inside the anal canal out to the perinatal skin, resulting from a peri rectal abscess. It causes intermittent drainage and sometimes pain, swelling and bleeding.
Tear vs pus. A fissure is a tear of the anal canal - hurts a lot when you have a bm. A fistula is a chronic perianal/rectal infection that resulted in the formation of a tunnel (variable depth and complexity) that is prone to infection complication. You need a surgeon's help for both conditions.
All Different. Fissure: think paper cut in your anus hemorrhoids: think varicose veins in the anus fistula: much more complex - think aberrant tract from rectum to skin that shouldn't be there.
Surface vs deeper. A fissure is a surface crack in the skin at the anal opening. A fistula is a deeper tunnel under the skin or under the sphincter muscles. Fissure may be treated medically at first & fistula more likely to need surgery first.

Related Questions

Can you explain the difference between anal fissure and anal fistula?

Tear vs. Tunnel. An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the anal canal, just inside the opening, and typically causes pain and bleeding. An anal fistula is an abnormal communication (tunnel) from inside the anal canal out to the perianal skin, usually the result of a prior perirectal abscess. It may cause drainage, swelling, discomfort and recurrent abscesses. Both are treatable conditions. Read more...
Fissure and Fistula. A fissure is a tear in the anal canal lining caused by straining, and hard stools. It is treated medically or surgically. A fistula is abnormal communication between the anal canal and the skin. This is usually related to an anorectal abscess. It should be treated surgically. If it involves crohns disease, special medical therapy may be used. Read more...
All Different. Fissure: think paper cut in your anus hemorrhoids: think varicose veins in the anus fistula: much more complex - think aberrant tract from rectum to skin that shouldn't be there. Read more...

How can a proctologist tell if it's a fissure fistula or a anal fissure?

Different. An anal fissure is superficial and wholly contained in the anus. A fistula is a tract that can connect the bowel to an adjacent organ, to the skin, or to itself. The proctologist will do a careful exam to probe the lesion and see if it is a fissure versus a fistula. Read more...
2 different things. A fissure is a tear in the tissue that lines the anal canal. The pain caused by this tear causes spasm which can worsen the fissure. A fistula on the other hand is a tunnel that usual runs from one of the rectal glands above the anus and tracks to the skin outside of the anus. Theses can leak or get plugged up causing abscesses. The treatments are different so make sure you understand which on. Read more...
Exam. Physical examination by a trained professional. Fissure is a crack or tear on the surface of the anal skin. A fistula is an infected tunnel running underneath the anal skin. Read more...

How do you know if you have a fissure fistula or a anal fissure? Would my proctologist know what I have?

Yes. Fistulae usually case infections and painful lumps (abscesses) fissures more commonly cause pain with defecation and some small amount of bleeding. An exam will help your md decide. Read more...

What are the chances that my anal fissure will get infected and turn into an abscess/fistula? That would be my worst nightmare.

Anal fissure . Although of course it is possible, the vast majority of anal fissures never turned into an abscess or fistula, especially when treated early. I would follow the advice of your doctor or gastroenterologist, and know that the chances that that could happen will be very slim. Good luck. Read more...