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patient education : 12512--Anal Dilation Instructions

Anal dilation procedure that parent will perform as directed by MD for pediatric population diagnosed with anal stenosis, anal fistula with imperforate anus, or postoperative anal surgery to prevent stricture formation. The handout may be given to the parent of patients being discharged from the NICU, 7 peds acute or outpatient clinic area.

Handout File:

PDF document icon PE12512_eng_Anal Dilation Instructions 11.2019.pdf — PDF document, 105 KB (108277 bytes)
  1. document content:

    Anal Dilation Instructions

    Why does my child need anal dilation?

    Anal dilation is done to gradually stretch the anus to a normal size for your child’s age.    Anal dilation is important after anal surgery to prevent scar tissue from forming.  Scar tissue can make the anus tighter making the treatment time longer and more difficult for your child.

    What supplies do I need?

    • Water based lubricant (like Surgilube or K-Y jelly; Vaseline is not water based)
    • Dilator(s)
    • Wipes
    • Diaper

    How do I know which size dilator to use?

    The surgeon will determine the dilator size and the goal size to reach.  The dilation steps will be demonstrated by the medical caregiver.    The end of each dilator is a different size.  There are numbers printed near the middle of the dilator indicating the size of each end.  If you have trouble inserting the prescribed size, try to insert the size smaller than prescribed. 

    How do I do the dilation?

    Until you are comfortable with the dilation process, it might be easier to have a helper who can assist by holding the baby or child in position while you dilate.

    1. Wash your hands.
    2. Lubricate the end of the prescribed sized dilator.
    3. Position the baby or child on his/her back, open the diaper, and lift legs so knees are bent and feet are together.   The anus should be visible. 
    4. Insert the dilator into the anus.  Do not force insertion.  Insert the dilator to the spot or length instructed by the surgeon.
    5. Remove the dilator.  Wipe the bottom and replace the diaper.
    6. Wash the dilator in warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly and dry.

    How often will I need to do the dilation?

    Dilations are usually done once or twice daily with the prescribed size dilator.

    Not dilating your child as instructed can slow the process of stretching the anus.

    The surgeon’s office will guide progress of the dilation and see the patient frequently in clinic.  If you have any concerns or questions about the dilations, please call your surgeon’s office.

    Remember to bring your dilators with you to clinic or hospital visits.    Please call the surgeon’s office, if you are unable to dilate as prescribed or you have any concerns about the bowel movement pattern.

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