Anal Dilators: Understanding the Pros and Cons of Different Options

Anal Dilators: Understanding the Pros and Cons of Different Options

Anal dilators are specialized medical devices designed to mechanically expand the anal canal, providing relief for various colorectal conditions.

Understanding the different options available for anal dilators is crucial for colorectal surgeons to ensure optimal patient outcomes.

This article delves into the various types of anal dilators, their mechanisms of action, and the pros and cons of each option, offering valuable insights for those in the field of colorectal surgery.

What Are Anal Dilators?

Anal dilators are devices used to gently stretch the anal canal, helping alleviate conditions such as anal fissures, hemorrhoidal congestion, and stenosis. By incrementally increasing the diameter of the anal canal, these devices can relieve pain, reduce spasms, and improve overall anal function.

Types of Anal Dilators

SapiMed Dilatan® Anal Dilators

SapiMed Dilatan® anal dilators are a popular choice due to their unique cryo-thermal properties. These dilators are available in five different sizes, allowing for tailored treatment plans to accommodate individual patient needs.

  • A.1001: 18/20 mm

  • A.1002: 23/27 mm

  • A.1030: 30 mm

These dilators feature an inert plastic shell with a large disk at the base, facilitating easy handling. Each dilator is filled with a thermal jelly that maintains its temperature during use, enhancing the therapeutic effects.

Dilastom® Stomal Dilators

The Dilastom® stomal dilators are specifically designed for home treatment of cutaneous and fascial colostomy stenosis. By using these dilators, patients can often avoid surgical correction of stenosis, making it a less invasive and cost-effective solution.

Dilastom dilators are intended for long-term use and have been shown to be safe without causing undesirable side effects, providing patients with a convenient and effective treatment option.

How Anal Dilators Work

Mechanism of Action

The primary function of anal dilators is to reduce the spastic contraction of the internal anal sphincter, a condition caused by factors such as constipation, chronic laxative use, infections, hemorrhoidal congestion, and more.

When the sphincter is in spasm, it cannot relax properly, which impedes fecal evacuation and exacerbates the underlying condition.

By gradually dilating the anal canal, these devices reduce pain and allow for healing through scar tissue formation. This process helps restore the elasticity and distensibility of the anal canal, ultimately improving or resolving symptoms and potentially avoiding the need for surgery.

Thermal Effects

Anal dilators like the SapiMed Dilatan® utilize thermal properties to enhance their effectiveness.

  • Cryotherapy: Cold treatment can reduce hemorrhage and edema, providing relief from these conditions.

  • Thermotherapy: Heat treatment alleviates muscle spasms and pain associated with various anorectal conditions.

The combination of mechanical dilation and thermal therapy offers a comprehensive approach to treating anal pathologies, making these devices highly effective.

Pros of Different Anal Dilator Options

SapiMed Dilatan® Anal Dilators

  1. Wide Range of Sizes: These dilators are available in multiple sizes, allowing for customized treatment plans tailored to individual patient anatomies and conditions.

  2. Temperature Maintenance: The thermal jelly within the dilators retains heat or cold, enhancing therapeutic effects and providing additional relief from symptoms.

  3. Ease of Use: The large disk at the base of each dilator ensures that patients can easily grip and insert the device, promoting better compliance with treatment protocols.

Dilastom® Stomal Dilators

  1. Avoidance of Surgical Intervention: These dilators can prevent the need for surgical correction of colostomy stenosis, offering a less invasive and cost-effective alternative.

  2. Safe for Long-Term Use: Designed for extended use, Dilastom dilators do not produce adverse side effects, making them a reliable option for ongoing treatment.

  3. Home Treatment Convenience: Patients can use these dilators at home, increasing convenience and encouraging adherence to the treatment regimen.

Cons of Different Anal Dilator Options

SapiMed Dilatan® Anal Dilators

  1. Limited to Physician-Advised Use: These devices should only be used under the guidance of a physician, which may limit accessibility for some patients.

  2. Initial Discomfort: Patients may experience discomfort when first using the dilators, which could impact compliance.

Dilastom® Stomal Dilators

  1. Requires Patient Education: Proper usage of these dilators necessitates thorough patient education to prevent misuse and ensure effectiveness.

  2. Prolonged Treatment Duration: The treatment process can be time-consuming, which may be a drawback for some patients.

Clinical Considerations for Colorectal Surgeons

Patient Selection

Colorectal surgeons must carefully select patients for anal dilator therapy based on specific criteria, including the severity of their condition and overall health. Contraindications, such as severe inflammation or infection, should be considered to avoid complications.

Protocol for Use

A detailed protocol for the use of anal dilators should be followed to ensure patient safety and treatment efficacy. This includes:

  • Preparation and Insertion: Proper hygiene and lubrication are essential for comfortable and effective dilator insertion.

  • Temperature Setting: Depending on the patient's condition, the appropriate temperature setting (cryotherapy or thermotherapy) should be used.

  • Monitoring and Follow-Up: Regular follow-up appointments are necessary to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Managing Patient Expectations

Effective communication is crucial in managing patient expectations. Surgeons should provide clear information about the treatment process, potential discomfort, and expected outcomes.

Addressing common concerns and questions can help patients feel more comfortable and committed to their treatment plan.


Anal dilators are valuable tools in the management of various colorectal conditions. Understanding the pros and cons of different options, such as SapiMed Dilatan® and Dilastom® dilators, allows colorectal surgeons to make informed decisions that benefit their patients.

By staying updated on the latest advancements and following best practices, surgeons can optimize treatment outcomes and improve the quality of life for those suffering from anorectal conditions.

Contact our sales team if you’re interested in our selection of anal dilators for your medical practice.

Brian Chandler