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Colorectal Dis. 2009 Jul;11(6):584-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2008.01627.x. Epub 2008 Jul 15.

Efficacy of the anal fistula plug in complex anorectal fistulae.

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John Goligher Colorectal Unit, General Infirmary at Leeds, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK.



The treatment of complex anorectal and rectovaginal fistulae remains a difficult problem. The options are fistulotomy, setons, fibrin glue and a variety of flap procedures. Recently, there have been several reports of a new plug; the Surgisis AFP plug. Reports from various centres do not give consistent results. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of the Surgisis AFP fistula plug in a wide spectrum of patients with anorectal, rectovaginal and pouch vaginal fistulae.


Between March 2006 and September 2007, patients with a variety of anal fistulae were selected for fistula plug insertion in the coloproctology units at Leeds, UK, and Aarhus, Denmark. Demographic and fistulae details were obtained. Postoperatively, all patients had a course of oral antibiotics.


Forty-three patients with a median age of 45 (range 18-65) years underwent a total of 45 procedures. Seventy-five per cent (n = 32) had a fistula secondary to cryptoglandular abscess. Median follow up was 47 (range 12-77) weeks. The success rate for complete healing was 44%. Dislodgement caused failure on 10 (22%) occasions.


Our study shows a moderate success rate for treatment with fistula plugs. The complex nature of the fistulae selected may be the reason for the low success rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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