Closing Perianal Fistulas Using a Laser: Long-Term Results in 103 Patients

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Primary closure of the fistula tract using energy emitted by a radial fiber connected to a diode laser is a novel procedure for treating perianal fistulas.


The aim of this study was to determine the long-term effectiveness of this new technique.


The surgical objective was to seal the fistula tract using laser energy.


The study was conducted at a single day-case surgery center.


Between April 2012 and June 2016, 103 consecutive patients with primary or recurrent perianal fistula underwent a laser closure procedure using a 12-watt laser emitting at a wavelength of 1470 nm.


Patients were classified according to the Park classification, and healing was evaluated based on the perianal fistula disease severity score.


Among the 103 patients treated using the laser closure procedure, 82 (80%) were men and 21 (20%) were women. The median age of the patients was 43 years (range, 18–78 y). Fifty-three patients (52%) had previous perianal fistula repair surgery. Based on the Park classification, 56 patients (54%) had intersphincteric fistula, 29 (28%) had transsphincteric fistula, 11 (11%) had suprasphincteric or extrasphincteric fistula, and 7 (7%) had superficial perianal fistula. Based on the perianal disease severity score, 41 patients (40%) obtained overall complete healing, 38 (37%) had persistent symptomatic drainage, 20 (19%) had slight drainage with minimal symptoms, and 4 (4%) had painful symptomatic drainage.


This was a retrospective analysis of noncomparative data with a lack of formal prospective continence assessment.


Closure of perianal fistulas using a laser should be considered as a treatment option but with modest expectations. Although our complete healing rate was not as high as in earlier studies, this technique is a reasonable option with nearly no risk of sphincter damage when treating perianal fistulas. See Video Abstract at

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