Video-assisted anal fistula treatment: a high volume unit initial experience

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Perianal fistulas are a common problem. Video-assisted anal fistula treatment is a new technique for the management of this difficult condition. We describe our initial experience with the technique to facilitate the treatment of established perianal fistulas.

METHODS

We reviewed a prospectively maintained database relating to consecutive patients undergoing video-assisted anal fistula treatment in a single unit.

RESULTS

Seventy-eight consecutive patients had their perianal fistulas treated with video-assistance from November 2014 to June 2016. Complete follow-up data were available in 74 patients, with median follow-up of 14 months (interquartile range 7-19 months). There were no complications and all patients were treated as day cases. Most patients had recurrent disease, with 57 (77%) having had previous fistula surgery. At follow-up, 60 (81%) patients reported themselves ‘cured’ (asymptomatic) including 5 patients with Crohn’s disease and one who had undergone 10 previous surgical procedures. Logistical stepwise regression did not demonstrate any statistically significant factors that may have been considered to affect outcome (age, gender, diabetes, previous I&D, Crohn’s disease, smoking, type of fistula).

CONCLUSIONS

Our data have shown that video-assisted anal fistula treatment is safe and effective in the management of perianal fistulas in our patients and this suggests it may be applied to all patients regardless of comorbidity, underlying pathology or type of fistula.

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