Long-term results of seton drainage on complex anal fistulae in patients with Crohn's disease
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The aim of this study was to assess the long-term (greater than 2 years) results of seton drainage on anal fistulae in patients with Crohn's disease. Methods: Between September 1990 and September 1999, 32 patients with Crohn's disease underwent seton drainage for complex anal fistulae. The median follow-up time in these patients was 62 months (range, 25–133 months). In 10 patients (31.3%), recurrent perineal abscesses occurred with inlying seton drainage, and these were drained by re-insertion of the seton. A Malecot catheter was also inserted in 8 patients with recurrence. Results: The overall success rate of long-term seton usage was 87.5%. The subsequent associated procedure was simple seton removal (n = 9), secondary core-out fistulectomy (n = 7), or lay-open fistulotomy (n = 4). Eleven patients still had the seton in place. Recurrence developed in 3 patients (33%) who underwent simple seton removal and in 2 patients (18.2%) who underwent the secondary core-out procedure or fistulotomy. At the last follow-up examination, continence had not changed in 28 (87.5%) of the 32 patients. No change in continence was experienced by 10 of the 11 patients who underwent secondary fistulotomy or the secondary core-out procedure. Conclusions: Long-term seton drainage for complex anal fistula in Crohn's disease is efficacious in both treating sepsis and preserving anal sphincter function. A relatively good result was achieved by the secondary core-out procedure or fistulotomy at the time of seton removal.
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