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Pain after hemorrhoidectomy is universal. Several attempts have been made to reduce or alleviate the pain after excisional hemorrhoidectomy. The origin of pain is undetermined. Current theories propose that the pain is mediated through the internal sphincter. This prospective, randomized study was performed to assess the degree of discomfort in patients with and without a sphincterotomy when performing a closed hemorrhoidectomy.Between December 1999 and September 2001, 42 patients (22 males), median age 52 (range, 30-80) years, who underwent excisional hemorrhoidectomy were randomly chosen to have an internal sphincterotomy in the base of the left lateral wound.Thirty-nine patients were available for the study. Parameters elicited in the study were pain, postoperative bleeding, urinary retention, impairment of continence by day and by night, and day the patient returned to work. There was no statistical difference in the postoperative pain in each of the two categories at four hours after surgery, after the first bowel movement, or four days after surgery.Results showed no difference in the perception of pain after hemorrhoidectomy in patients who had an internal sphincterotomy compared with those who did not. Both groups were equally likely to have difficulty with control of gas and soiling.