, Volume 21, Issue 8, pp 784-790
Date: 15 Mar 2006

Long-term outcome following mucosal advancement flap for high perianal fistulas and fistulotomy for low perianal fistulas

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In this study, we determined the long-term outcome of perianal fistulas treated with mucosal advancement flap (MF) or fistulotomy (FT).


One hundred three patients with perianal fistulas were treated by MF for high fistulas or FT for low fistulas and were retrospectively assessed by case-note review and examined at the out-patient clinic. The localization and time of recurrence of the fistula were recorded.


Forty-one patients [median follow-up of 72 months (range 48–99)] were treated by an MF, and 62 patients [median follow up of 75 months (range 48–99)] were treated by FT. After 12, 48, and 72 months, the fistula had recurred in 9 (22%), 26 (63%), and 26 (63%) patients of the MF group and in 4 (7%), 16 (26%), and 24 (39%) patients of the FT group, respectively. Eighteen (69%) of the recurrences in the MF group and ten (33%) of the FT group occurred within 24 months after surgery (p=0.01). Four (15%) of the recurrences in the MF group and 13 (54%) of the recurrences in the FT group were present in a different localization (p=0.007).


The success rate of both FT and MF techniques decreases with time. Recurrence appears to be caused by failure of treatment and by recurrent patient disease.