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Treatment of rectovaginal fistula with gracilis muscle flap transposition: long-term follow-up

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Rectovaginal fistulas are difficult to treat completely, especially when patients present with a history of multiple surgeries and radiation therapy. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy of gracilis muscle flap transposition to treat rectovaginal fistula.


We performed a retrospective chart review of all gracilis muscle transposition cases and other procedures between January 2009 and July 2016.


Total 53 cases were reviewed. A total of 11 patients underwent gracilis muscle flap transposition for rectovaginal fistula repair, with 8 patients showing good results without recurrence (total success rate, 72.7%). Comparison of this patient group with patients who had undergone other surgical procedures for rectovaginal fistula repair showed that those who received a gracilis transposition flap had significantly higher average number of previous surgeries (2.18 ± 1.17 vs. 1.1 ± 1.25) and had previously undergone radiotherapy at a significantly higher rate (63.6 vs. 26.2%). Furthermore, none of our patients complained of donor site discomfort.


Based on these results, we recommend using the gracilis muscle flap for rectovaginal fistula repair in cases where there is a history of radiotherapy and had surgical failure more than twice.

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Correspondence to Hak Chang.

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Park, S.O., Hong, K.Y., Park, K.J. et al. Treatment of rectovaginal fistula with gracilis muscle flap transposition: long-term follow-up. Int J Colorectal Dis 32, 1029–1032 (2017).

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