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Colorectal Dis. 2010 Oct;12(10):965-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2009.01933.x.

The efficacy of anal fistula plug in fistula-in-ano: a systematic review.

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Department of General Surgery, Fortis Super Specialty Hospital, Mohali, Punjab, India.



To assess the efficacy of anal fistula plug (AFP) procedure for the treatment of fistula-in-ano especially the complex fistulas.


The database of PUBMED, MEDLINE, SCOPUS, EMBASE and COCHRANE LIBRARY for the period 1995-2009 was searched. A systematic analysis was carried to evaluate the success rate of AFP procedure in fistula-in-ano.


A total of 25 studies were extracted and 12 (n = 317) were finally included in the systematic review. The follow-up period ranged from 3.5 to 12 months. The AFP procedure had a success rate (patient cure rate) ranging from 24% to 92%. In complex fistula-in-ano in prospective studies (8/12 studies), the success rate was 35-87%. The success rate in patients with Crohn's disease was 29-86%. The success rate in the patients with single tracts was 44-93% and in patients with multiple tracts, success ranged from 20% to 71%. The abscess formation/sepsis rate was 4-29% (11/108) and the plug extrusion rate was 4-41% (42/232-19%).


Anal fistula plug procedure has a success rate ranging from 24% to 92% in different studies. In prospective studies of complex fistula-in-ano, there was a moderate success rate of 35-87%. As AFP is associated with low morbidity and sepsis, it appears to be a safe procedure. Further randomized controlled trials studying objective parameters of fistula healing are needed to substantiate these findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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