What is an Anal Fistula and how can it be treated?

April | 2022

An abnormal connection between two hollow places, such as blood arteries, intestines, or other hollow organs, is known as a fistula.

An anal fistula is an infectious tunnel between the skin and the anus, the muscular opening at the end of the large intestine tract. An infection in an anal gland that spreads to the skin is majorly the cause of anal fistulas.

Every year, 2 out of every 10000 people in India suffer from an anal fistula. Men are more likely to develop anal fistulas than women.

In this blog post, we have outlined all the information you need to know about an anal fistula.

The causes of an anal fistula are:

  • Radiation - for cancer treatment
  • Crohn's disease - a gastrointestinal inflammatory illness.
  • Diverticulitis - small pouches in the large intestine develop and become inflamed.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Tuberculosis
  • Cancer
  • Trauma

Symptoms of an anal fistula are:

  • Purulent drainage from the anus
  • Swelling and pain around the anus
  • Skin irritation around the anus
  • Constipation causes pain
  • Anal abscesses
  • Bleeding
  • Fever
  • Chills


When anal fistulas do not respond to oral medications alone, surgery is the best option to treat them.

There are many types of surgical procedures that can be implemented to treat an Anal Fistula. Based on your clinical condition the best-suited procedure will be recommended. An important factor that influences the decision is - whether the fistula is a single channel one or does it have multiple branches in multiple directions.


A fistulotomy is the most common type of surgical procedure for anal fistulas. This involves the surgeon cutting the fistula open above the tunnel to create a groove that heals from the inside out. It’s usually only appropriate for fistulas that don't penetrate through much of the sphincter muscles.

Seton techniques

A special drain is used to treat complex fistulas. This procedure is performed under the influence of general anesthesia. A Seton is a thin silicone string put into the fistula tract. This prevents the sphincter muscles from being sliced and allows the fistula to drain and heal from the inside out.

LIFT procedure

The Ligation of the Intersphincteric Fistula Tract (LIFT) is a procedure that uses the intersphincteric approach to close the internal opening and remove infected cryptoglandular tissue. The sphincter muscles are separated by making an incision in the skin above the fistula. After that, the fistula is sealed on both ends and cut open to lie flat. Scraping the rest of the fistulous tract for any granulation tissue.

Endoscopic ablation

You will be given general anesthesia for this procedure. After that, the doctor will insert an endoscope (a tube with a camera at the end) into your anus and see the images on a screen, after locating the fistula tiny metal clips or stents are used to close the fistula.

Laser treatment for fistula

This procedure is performed under the influence of general anesthesia and takes approximately 30-40 minutes. The doctor uses a specific amount of laser energy to carefully remove the fistula tract without damaging the sphincter muscle. The laser forces the tissue around the radial fiber to shrink, causing the track to close.Fistula laser surgery is a safe procedure with no wounds and scars.

For more information about the treatment and doctors contact the House of Doctors, we promise to provide you with the best fistula treatment in Mumbai.


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