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Papers of the Week

2020 Apr 16

Sci Rep



Longterm outcome of anal fistula – A retrospective study.


Andreou C, Zeindler J, Oertli D, Misteli H
Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 16; 10(1):6483.
PMID: 32300218.


This retrospective observational study analyses the outcomes of patients undergoing surgery for anal fistula at a single centre in order to assess recurrence and re-operation rates after different surgical techniques. During January 2005 and May 2013, all patients with anal fistula were included. Baseline characteristics, details of presentation, fistula anatomy, type of surgery, post-surgical outcomes and follow-up data were collected. The primary endpoints were long-term closure rate and recurrence rate after 2 years. Secondary endpoints were persistent pain, postoperative complications and continence status. A total of 65 patients were included. From a total amount of 93 operations, 65 were fistulotomies, 13 mucosal advancement flaps, 7 anal fistula plugs and 8 cutting-setons. The mean follow up was 80 months. Healing was achieved in 85%. The highest recurrence rate was seen in anal fistula plug with 42%. On the other hand, no recurrence was observed in the cutting-seton procedures. For all included operation no persistent postoperative pain nor incontinence was observed. In conclusion, despite all existing anal fistula operations up to date, the optimal technique with low recurrence rate and assured safety for the anal sphincter is still lacking. Nonetheless, according to our promising results for the cutting-seton technique, this technique, otherwise considered obsolete, should be further evaluated in a prospective study.