Anal Fistula Treatment - Types, Surgery and Risks

Prompt treatment for anal fistula is vital as it does not heal on its own. At Medbros Surgery, you can get treatment for anal fistula from specialized doctors with facilities like advanced laser treatments, medical care coordinators, and post-surgery care.

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An anal fistula is a small tunnel that develops between the skin around the anus and the inside of the anal canal. It is usually caused by an infection in an anal gland, which results in the formation of an abscess that eventually breaks open, creating a passage or fistula. Anal fistulas can be painful and lead to recurrent infections if not properly treated. In this post, we’ll explore the types of anal fistula, the surgical treatment options available, and the associated risks.

Types of Anal Fistula:
There are different types of anal fistulas, classified based on their course and relation to the anal sphincters:

Intersphincteric Fistula: This type of fistula runs between the internal and external anal sphincters, remaining within the anal canal.

Transsphincteric Fistula: The fistula tract goes through both the internal and external anal sphincters, extending from the anal canal to the skin around the anus.

Suprasphincteric Fistula: This type of fistula starts in the anal gland, extends upward, and then curves around the external anal sphincter before reaching the skin.

Extrasphincteric Fistula: The fistula originates in the rectum or anal canal, bypasses both sphincters, and forms an opening in the skin.

Surgical Treatment for Anal Fistula:
Surgery is the primary treatment for anal fistulas, and the choice of procedure depends on the type, complexity, and location of the fistula. Here are the common surgical treatment options:

Fistulotomy: This is the most straightforward procedure and is suitable for simple, low-level fistulas. The surgeon cuts open the entire fistula tract to allow it to heal from the inside out.

Fistulectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes the fistula tract entirely, including the infected tissue.

Seton Placement: A seton is a piece of thread or surgical material that is placed through the fistula tract to keep it open and allow for drainage. It is often used for complex or high-level fistulas to aid in gradual healing.

Advancement Flap Repair: This procedure involves using nearby healthy tissue to cover the internal opening of the fistula, promoting healing.

LIFT Procedure (Ligation of Intersphincteric Fistula Tract): The LIFT procedure involves separating the fistula from the sphincter muscles and then closing the internal opening.

Fibrin Glue Injection: In some cases, fibrin glue may be injected into the fistula tract to seal it off and promote healing.

Risks and Complications:
Like any surgical procedure, anal fistula surgery carries certain risks and potential complications, which may include:

Infection: There is a risk of post-operative infection, especially in the anal area.

Incontinence: Depending on the location and complexity of the fistula, there is a small risk of temporary or permanent fecal incontinence (inability to control bowel movements).

Recurrence: Fistulas may recur in some cases, requiring further treatment.

Delayed Healing: The surgical wound may take time to heal completely.

Abscess Formation: In some instances, an abscess may redevelop after surgery.

Pain and Discomfort: Post-operative pain and discomfort are common, but they can usually be managed with medications and proper care.

Anal fistulas require proper medical attention and treatment to prevent complications and improve the quality of life. Surgical treatment options can effectively address anal fistulas, and the choice of procedure depends on the specific characteristics of the fistula. However, as with any surgery, there are associated risks and potential complications. It is essential to consult with a qualified colorectal surgeon to determine the most suitable treatment approach and discuss the potential risks and benefits for your particular case. Following post-operative care instructions and attending follow-up appointments is crucial for a successful recovery.

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