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Dis Colon Rectum. 2010 Jan;53(1):43-6. doi: 10.1007/DCR.0b013e3181bb869f.

Ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract: an effective new technique for complex fistulas.

Author information

  • 1University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106, USA. Joshua.bleier@uphs.upenn.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The management of complex fistulas is difficult. Maintaining continence while achieving durable fistula closure is the goal of surgical management. This study describes our experience with a novel sphincter-sparing technique called the ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract, which involves ligation and division of the fistula tract in the intersphincteric space.

METHODS:

All patients from July 2007 to December 2008 with trans- or suprasphincteric fistula treated with the procedure were prospectively followed. Procedures were performed by surgeons with fellowship training in a referral center. Demographic data, comorbidities, previous repair attempts, and postoperative data were collected.

RESULTS:

A total of 39 patients underwent a ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract during a 17-month period. Median age was 49 years. A total of 29 patients (74%) had previous attempts at repair, with a median of 2 failed repairs. Follow-up data were available in 90% (35 of 39). Median follow-up was 20 weeks. Successful fistula closure was achieved in 57% of the patients (20 of 35). Median time to failure was 10 weeks (range, 2-38 weeks). No patient reported any subjective decrease in continence after the procedure.

CONCLUSION:

Ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract is a new sphincter-sparing procedure for complex transsphincteric fistula. The success rate is comparable with other sphincter-preserving techniques. Importantly, it appeared to effectively preserve continence. Adding safe, muscle-sparing surgical options to our armamentarium for dealing with transsphincteric fistula is essential. Additionally, the procedure is easy to learn and has very low cost. Long-term follow-up and randomized, controlled trials are necessary to assess efficacy and durability.

PMID:
20010349
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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