OBJECTIVE To describe a new technique for fistula-in-ano surgery aimed at total sphincter preservation, and evaluate the preliminary results concerning non-healing and intact anal function. MATERIAL AND METHOD A prospective observational study in eighteen fistula-in-ano patients treated by ligation of intersphincteric fistula tract (LIFT) technique, from January to June 2006. RESULTS Fistula-in-ano in seventeen patients healed primarily (94.4%). There was one non-healing case (5.6%). The mean healing time was four weeks. None had disturbances in clinical anal continence. CONCLUSION The early outcome of the LIFT technique is quite impressive. Results warrant a larger study with long-term evaluation. This technique has the potential to become a viable option for fistula-in-ano surgery.