A fistula is a small tunnel that connects an infected gland inside the anus to the skin around the opening of the anus. Symptoms are pain and swelling around the anus.
Feces are expelled from the body through the anus. There are glands inside the anus that create mucus. An abscess happens when these glands get clogged. Nearly half of these abscesses develop into the fistula.
The main cause of anal fistula is the clogged glands and abscesses. Other causes include:
The anus is examined by the doctor. They will look for cuts and openings on the skin. This helps the doctor in determining the depth of the tract and the direction in which it is growing. In most cases, there will be drainage from the openings.
If the fistulas are not visible from the outside, some additional tests might be done by the doctor. These tests include:
In most cases, surgery is done to treat the fistula. The goal of the surgery is to remove the fistula and protect the anal sphincter muscles.
Fistulotomy is performed if no sphincter muscles are involved in the fistula. During this process, the skin and muscles over the tunnel are cut to convert them into an open grove. This helps the fistula tract to heal.
If the fistula is complex, the surgeon might need to place a seton. Seton remains in place for at least six weeks. After placing the seton, a second operation is performed in almost all cases:
There is a new treatment for Crohn’s disease fistula in which stem cells are injected into the fistula.
The patient can go home the same day as these surgeries are done on an outpatient basis. In serious cases, the patient may be asked to stay in the hospital for a short period.
Most surgeries respond well to fistulas. Stool softeners and laxatives might be prescribed. It is recommended to soak the affected area in warm water during bathing.
The pain will remain in the affected area for some time so the doctor may inject lidocaine to reduce discomfort. Some pain pills may also be prescribed.
If the fistula is treated in the right way, the need for any follow-ups may not be there.
Patients just need to follow the doctor’s instructions after the surgery. Fistulas don’t come back if treated correctly. Taking the pills prescribed will help in pain relief and warm baths will reduce discomfort and help in rapid healing.
At Shantiraj, we provide expert fistula treatment. Our team of expert surgeons makes sure the patient gets rid of the fistula as soon as possible without any side effects. Our world-class infrastructure and equipment make it very convenient for the patient to get the treatment done.