Elastic one-stage cutting seton for the treatment of high anal fistulas: preliminary results
The management of high and complicated anal fistulas remains a therapeutic challenge, and the oldest and theoretically the simplest technique is to use a seton. In this article, we document our recent experience in managing high anal fistulas with a simple modification of the cutting seton.
Patients and methods
Surgical outcomes of patients treated by the elastic cutting seton for anal fistulas that involved more than half of the sphincter muscles or for anterior trans-sphincteric fistulas in female patients were analyzed. The elastic seton, which was created by cutting a thin (2–3 mm) circular strip from a surgical glove, including its thicker sleeve, was inserted through the remaining tract in a double-strand fashion, and then tied on the sphincter with two knots in a slightly tight manner.
Complete healing was achieved in 9 cases (45%) at 1 month and in all cases (100%) at 3 months postoperatively. Recurrent fistula was noted in a single patient (5%) at 8 months. Worsening of preoperative continence was noted in 4 patients (20%). However, the postoperative incontinence score (0.70±1.22) did not differ significantly from the preoperative score (0.41±0.41; p=0.059, Wilcoxon’s test).
The preliminary results of this series suggest that the elastic cutting seton may be a valid alternative for the treatment of high anal fistulas. The possible positive contribution of the slow and stable cutting of the sphincter on the maintenance of continence is further supported. An important practical disadvantage of the conventional seton treatment, namely the need for postoperative adjustments, is also eliminated.
Key wordsFistula-in-ano Seton Elastic cutting seton
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