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Am Surg. 2010 Oct;76(10):1150-3.

A tale of two (anal fistula) plugs: is there a difference in short-term outcomes?

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University of California-Irvine Medical Center, Orange, California, USA.


Treatment of complex anal fistulas presents an ongoing challenge to colorectal surgeons. The anal fistula plug is an attractive definitive option due to its minimal risk of incontinence, simple design, and easy application. Our objective was to compare the Cook Surgisis AFP plug and the newer Gore Bio-A plug in the management of complex anal fistulas. A retrospective chart review of patients treated with Cook and Gore fistula plugs between August 2007 and December 2009 was performed. Success was defined as closure of all external openings and absence of drainage and abscess formation. Twelve Cook patients underwent 16 plug insertions and 10 Gore patients underwent 11 plug insertions. The overall procedural success rate in the Gore group was 54.5 per cent (6 of 11) versus 12.5 per cent (2 of 16) in the Cook group. The reasons for failure were unknown in the majority of patients and plug dislodgement in two patients. Our short-term results with the Gore fistula plug suggest a higher procedural success rate in comparison to the Cook plug. Patients should be cautioned regarding potentially high failure rates; however, longer follow-up and a larger patient population are needed to confirm significant differences in fistula plug efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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