Usually developing after an abscess in an anal gland, a fistula tunnels from the anal canal to the skin of the buttocks surrounding the anus. Looking like an ulcer on your skin, the fistula’s opening usually coincides with pain and swelling in the immediate area. It may release pus, too.
Since the fistula starts with an infected abscess, you may also have a fever along with feeling rundown and tired. While you may need antibiotics to fight the infection, they won’t clear up the fistula. Call on Colorado Colon & Rectal Specialists for complete treatment. Dr. Lisa Perryman and her team are anal fistula experts, ready to help you choose the right approach for your condition.
About 50% of patients who develop anal abscesses go on to develop fistulas. The risk level is the same whether your abscess drains on its own or receives medical treatment, and it’s along this drainage path that a fistula develops.
Abscesses can result from blocked glands, infected anal fissures, injuries, or sexually transmitted infections. Men tend to develop anal abscesses more often than women.
Surgical treatment for fistulas
Dr. Perryman classifies a fistula by the route it takes from the anal canal to your skin’s surface. This leads to the type of surgery that best suits your condition, since the fistula can pass through and around a wide range of local anatomy, including the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles.
Fistula surgery has two key goals: allowing the fistula to heal while protecting the muscle groups in the area. This may require more than one procedure.
Fistula surgery typically takes an hour in an outpatient setting and involves removing tissue around the fistula to promote healing. The complexity of each procedure depends on the route the opening takes. More complex procedures involve the placement of a seton, a piece of medical string or thread that promotes drainage and helps the fistula heal.
Dr. Perryman uses advanced surgical techniques that help to limit the impact of the procedure on healthy tissues surrounding the abscess and fistula. The best procedure for you depends on the unique characteristics of your fistula. The risk of recurring fistulas after surgery is low, and there are rarely complications after the procedure.
You can reach Colorado Colon & Rectal Specialists by phone or through the links on our website. Schedule your consultation and get started on healing your fistula today.