A fistula is a small tunnel in the skin of the anal region. Whenever there is an infection inside the anus, a tunnel is formed to drain the pus which is the fistula.
In majority of the cases, a fistula is formed when there is an infection in the anal region. Sometimes, it also forms because of sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis or any illness that affects the bowels. Some fistulas also form during childbirth.
Swelling and bleeding
Discharge of pus from the anal region
A fistula is a common, simple problem to fix, but it does not go away by itself. You have to see a doctor to treat it.
Ignoring the symptoms can lead to:
Fistulas can be easily diagnosed by a physical examination. To understand if there are any other complications, the doctor might ask for an X-ray, CT scan or a colonoscopy report.
It is best to have simple, bland, low fat food like rice, toast, yoghurt etc after the surgery. Increasing the intake of fibre rich food and water is recommended.
You need to see a doctor to treat a fistula. It does not heal by itself. A fistula cannot be treated by medication. If the fistula is small, the doctor can clean it up in the clinic with a local anaesthesia. But, if it’s large, you’ll need a surgery to resolve it.
|Specifics||Traditional Surgery||Laser Surgery|
|Cuts and Wounds||Yes||No|
|Dietary Restrictions||Yes||Small modifications in diet|
|Recovery Time||2-4 days||24 hours|
There are several procedures which involve cutting though the anal region to seal the fistula.
Fistulotomy: The entire length of the fistula is cut and opened so that it heals like a cut
Seton Technique: A cut is made in the anal region and a surgical thread is placed in the fistula to help it to drain out slowly and heal on its own
Flap Procedure: A cut is made in the fistula through which it is drained. A flap is used to cover the fistula to help it heal. The flap is made of tissue taken from a healthy part of the rectum.
LIFT procedure: The fistula is cut and sealed at both ends and the rest of it is kept open to heal
All of these procedures require cutting and suturing which results in a longer and slower recovery.
Hospital stay of 2-4 days or longer
Resume normal day routine after 4-6 weeks
Liquid diet for a couple of days after which solids can be introduced
These procedures involve cutting through the anal region. So, some of the risks may be:
Injury to the anal area
Infection of the surgical wound
Faecal or urinary incontinence
Risks of general anaesthesia
This procedure involves the use of laser technology. It’s a no cut, no wound procedure which is completed in 30 minutes.
Patient is given general anaesthesia for the procedure
A small laser emitting device is inserted through the anus
The stone is removed directly from the incision
The energy from the laser is directed towards the fistula to seal it completely
The laser device is removed
1 Day procedure with mild pain
Resume normal routine from next day
Simple, bland, nutritious, fibre rich food
Some of the risks of the procedure may be:
allergic or adverse reaction to anaesthesia or other drugs
damage to blood vessels