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At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our specialists offer the most innovative methods to diagnose and treat anal fistulae. Upon diagnosis, our physicians choose the best treatment options available to relieve symptoms and treat the underlying condition.
An anal fistula, also known as a fistula-in-ano, is an inflamed tunnel-shaped cavity that traverses the anal canal through the opening of the anus. They can develop as a single channel (fistula) or as multiple channels (fistulae). This condition can be common for patients with a history of anal abscesses, especially if they did not heal properly. Abscesses are filled with pus and may leave behind a small empty cavity when drained, creating the anal fistula. Furthermore, anal fistulae are most commonly found in patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, especially Crohn’s disease, or other conditions like diverticulitis, chlamydia, syphilis, or tuberculosis. Anal fistulae are not considered serious, but can cause discomfort and pain. They do not heal on their own and most often require surgery.
Anal fistulae almost always require surgical treatment. If left untreated they can become infected. There are several types of surgery that can be performed to treat anal fistulae, each having benefits and risks. Some of the most notable risks of anal fistula surgery are possible scarring, bleeding, pain, difficultly urinating, involuntary flatulence, or bowel incontinence.
Choosing the appropriate surgical procedure depends on the severity of the patient’s condition, the location of the fistula, and whether it is a single channel or multiple channel. Some of the most frequently performed surgeries for anal fistulae are:
Again, for most patients suffering from anal fistulae, the best treatment options are surgical interventions. Very few non-surgical treatments exist. However, doctors may prescribe certain medications in order to relieve some of the patient’s symptoms and avoid infections:
The five different types of anal fistulae differ in their relationship with the external and internal muscles of the sphincter. This is a surgical classification method and is known as the Parks classification.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with anal fistulae are:
The most frequent methods used to diagnose anal fistulae are:
The most important risk factors that influence the development of anal fistulae are:
The main causes of anal fistulae are:
Patients suffering from anal fistulae are strongly recommended to follow their doctor’s advice when choosing a treatment method. Generally, the best way to permanently cure an anal fistula is surgery. However patients can try alternative treatments to relieve some of the symptoms associated with anal fistulae. The most popular alternative treatments are:
The formation of anal fistulae cannot always be prevented but some of the most effective ways to avoid developing anal fistulae are:
Are you suffering from anal fistulae? You can always learn more about colorectal problems and how to treat and cure them by getting in touch with our specialists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.