What Is an Anal Fistula?
Normally, the anus contains a large number of small glands that produce mucus. An anal fistula is formed as the result of an abnormal connection between an infected gland of the anus and the skin surrounding the anus, in which the infected content drains to the exterior.
Common Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of an anal fistula include:
- Pain and swelling around the anus
- Irritation of the skin
- Occasional bleeding
- Fever or chills
- Constant purulent content (pus) drain
Causes of Anal Fistula
The main cause of anal fistula is the formation of anal abscesses in the anal canal. However, there are some conditions that can increase considerably the probability to develop an anal abscess – and as a result, an anal fistula-, including:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Crohn’s disease
- Anorectal cancer
Anal Fistula Treatment
An anal fistula is a complex condition and most of the time requires a surgical procedure to be solved. With this condition, the goal of the surgery is to eliminate the fistula and to protect the anal conduct tissues as well. At King’s our minimally invasive procedures minimize the risks, discomfort, and complications compared to traditional surgery techniques.
VAAFT (Video Assisted Anal Fistula Treatment)
VAAFT is a minimally invasive and sphincter-saving technique for treating simple and complex fistulas, in which the surgeon will use small scope to examine the fistula track under direct vision then clean the track and cauterizing it , all the procedure can be done without surgical excision , no big wound . Then its optional to use the injectable collagen to seal the fistula
The main feature of the VAAFT technique is that the procedure is performed entirely under direct endoluminal vision. Moreover, festuoloscopy helps to identify any possible secondary tracts or chronic abscesses. The VAAFT technique is sphincter-saving, and the surgical wounds are extremely small.
- Injectable glue / collagen – Here, the fistula is sealed by a biological glue/collagen injected directly into the fistula canal, this technique can be used as individual procedure or along with a VAFFT procedure.
- Seton insertion. In which the surgeon places a special drainage catheter through the fistula, called Seton, in order to allow proper drainage of the abscess.
- Laser procedure. In which the fistula is obliterated by using a special laser through that burns the inside of the fistula.
Most patients can go home within 24 hours after a procedure. At home, you might need to take some pain killers and some stool softeners for several days. Typically you can return to work within 1 week in most cases.