Treatment of rectal fistula

What is a rectal fistula?

A fistula is a pathological anomaly which means an abnormal connection between organs or ventricles, through which either liquid or hard material goes through in an unnatural direction, or towards the outside world. We call it rectal fistula if the inner cavity of the rectum is connected to the outside world.

Rectal fistula most often develops after a previous inflammation, or rectal abscess. In such cases, following the opening - or spontaneous opening up - of the abscess, the cavity of the abscess heals, but a passageway remains between the rectum and the wound that was created when opening up the abscess. This passageway is the rectal abscess. There are instances when the patients do not even notice the smaller abscesses, they only realize the presence of the fistula.

What are the symptoms of rectal fistula?

The most common symptom of rectal fistula is inflammation and purulent, serous or bloody excretion. Further symptoms can be pain, itching and a feeling of discomfort. If the fistula closes up, the previously noticed excretion also stops. In such cases, however, it might get superinfected, swollen and painful, and a rectal abscess can develop. It can also open up repeatedly, and the development of branches and a system of passageways is also a possibility.

How can rectal fistula be treated?

Diagnosing rectal fistula is done by physical examination, during which we find the outer opening of the fistula. Then we determine the depth and direction of the fistula, and the location of its inner opening by probing.
The treatment of rectal fistula is done by surgical intervention in local anesthesia, using up-to-date laser excision. The excision might be preceded by the draining of the fistula by seton, ensuring a free exit route for the excretion. It might take months to maintain the drainage. Therefore, the healing process of this disease requires not just professional expertise, but understanding and patience on the part of the patient, as well.

If you experience any of the symptoms, book an appointment with our specialists to get back your quality of life!
Make an appointment with:
Tamás Barta MD
Tamás Barta MD
Gábor Egri MD
Gábor Egri MD