Diseases of the Colon & Rectum

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 498–502 | Cite as

Fibrin Glue for Anal Fistulas

Long-Term Results
  • Stephen M. Sentovich


PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term success and complication rate of fibrin-glue treatment of anal fistulas. METHODS: Patients with an anal fistula presenting to a single surgeon over a three-year period were enrolled in this study. At their first operation, all 48 patients (26–72 years old) underwent anoscopy, biopsy, destruction of the internal gland, and placement of a draining seton. Approximately two months later after preoperative bowel preparation, the seton was removed, the internal opening closed with a single suture, and fibrin glue instilled by way of the external opening to seal the fistula tract. Patients were followed closely to document the results of treatment and any complications. Long-term follow-up was done by telephone interview. RESULTS: Cause of the anal fistula was cryptoglandular in 36 (75 percent) patients, Crohn’s disease in 5 (10 percent), and miscellaneous in 7 (15 percent). Median follow-up was 22 months (range, 6–46 months). After a single treatment with fibrin glue, 29 (60 percent) fistulas closed. Retreatment with fibrin glue brought the successful number of fistula tracts closed to 33 (69 percent). The 15 (29 percent) patients who failed either one or two treatments with fibrin glue were successfully treated with either fistulotomy or advancement flap. Bowel function and fecal incontinence were not altered by the fibrin-glue treatment. In one patient who failed fibrin glue, the fibrin-glue treatment may have created a more complicated fistula tract. Late recurrences (>6 months) occurred in three (6 percent) patients, two of whom were successfully retreated with fibrin glue. CONCLUSIONS: Fibrin-glue treatment of anal fistulas is successful in up to 69 percent of patients if initial failures are retreated. This sphincter-saving technique is associated with minimal complications and no functional detriment. Late recurrences are unusual.


Fibrin glue Anal fistula Crohn’s disease Fistulotomy Endorectal advancement flap 


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© The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen M. Sentovich

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