Advanced Fistula Repair
An anal fistula is a tunnel that links an opening in the skin to an anal abscess or other infected glands. People with Crohn’s disease are more likely to have a fistula.
Symptoms of fistulas include redness and swelling around the anus. People with an abscess may also experience fever and chills. A fistula is sometimes accompanied by drainage.
To diagnose a fistula, your physician may use a probe or scope, dye injection or MRI. Most people with fistulas need some form of medical intervention to reduce the likelihood of infection and relieve symptoms.
Advanced fistula repair includes clearing out or filling the tract.
- The first option is a fistulotomy. During this procedure, the tract is scraped and flushed and the fistula is left open to heal.
- The second procedure is used to reduce the amount of muscle that has to be cut. The surgeon will cut a flap into the rectal wall to remove the fistula’s opening. The flap is then stitched back down.
- A third option is to use a string (seton) or rubber band to slowly cut through the muscle over a period of weeks.
- Finally, fibrin glue or a plug of collagen is used to seal and close a fistula.
For more information on fistula repair, please see the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons.