Anal fistula, or fistula-in-ano, is a common anorectal problem in which an abnormal connection develops between the inner surface of the anal canal and the skin around the anal verge thereby causing severe pain and infection.
Anal glands located between the two layers of the anal sphincters (muscles which open and close the anal orifice) and draining into the anal canal are the site where these fistulae originate. It is the blockage of the outlet of these glands which cause secretions to accumulate inside and an abscess can form which can eventually point to the skin surface. The tract formed by this process is the fistula.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of Anal Fistula are:
- Bloody or purulent discharge
- Systemic symptoms if abscess becomes infected
Causes of Anal Fistula
An anal fistula is most commonly caused by an anal abscess. It can also be caused by conditions that affect the intestines (part of your digestive system). This is more common in people with immune deficiencies, such as HIV and AIDS. Other causes are:
- A growth of ulcer
- A surgery complication
- A health problem since birth
- Cancer of the rectum
The best and most effective way to treat Anal Fistula is surgery. Minimally Invasive Anal Fistula Treatment technique is a major breakthrough treatment option for complex fistulas.
In this technique, the fistula path is first examined with an endoscope to determine the point of the internal opening of the fistula. Then the internal opening of the fistula is closed with the help of stapler and the entire path of the fistula is destroyed by electrocautery under direct telescopic vision.
There is no surgical wound in the perianal region hence no dressings needed. The risk of faecal incontinence is negligent because no sphinter damages occur. The procedure is done under spinal anesthesia/ general anesthesia. There is minimal post-operative discomfort thereby reducing the time of recovery.