Use of a Balloon Rectal Catheter in Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Complex Anal Fistula to Improve Detection of Internal Openings

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of a balloon rectal channel catheter (BRCC) in complex anal fistula magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Methods

A prospective study was done on 54 patients with clinical diagnosis of complex anal fistula. Eighteen patients had preoperative MRI before and after inserting BRCC. Another 18 underwent MRI with BRCC and the rest without. Fistulas, internal openings, extensions, and abscesses were identified on MRI and compared with surgical findings. Intraindividual and interindividual differences with and without BRCC were analyzed.

Results

In intragroup patients, the accuracy of MRI in detecting the number of fistulas, internal openings, extensions, and abscesses before and after using BRCC was 100%/100%, 67%/90%, 95%/95%, and 100%/100%, respectively, with a significant difference on internal openings (P < 0.05). In intergroup patients with and without BRCC, the accuracy was 98%/96%, 88%/71%, 97%/100%, and 100%/100%, respectively, still with a significant difference on internal openings (P < 0.05).

Conclusions

Magnetic resonance imaging with BRCC may facilitate detection of internal openings in complex anal fistula.

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