An anal fistula is very painful and uncomfortable and you can’t wish away this problem, nor can you cure it with antibiotics. The only thing effective is a surgical treatment to mend your anorectal tissue with an aim to close the fistula tract. There is some risk associated with anal fistula surgery that must be considered before the surgery. You must consider all treatment options available and choose the one that has a low risk of severe complications and a high success rate.
Fistulotomy is the surgical method chosen by the majority of the doctors. In this process, the fistula tract is opened by cutting along its length. The unhealthy tissue is cleaned out, but the tract itself is not removed. The cut is stitched in a way that keeps the tract open. This method takes off the tissue above the tract but leaves the channel uncovered. Due to which sometimes it is termed as an “unroofing” procedure: Fistulotomy can be a success with long-standing results but it is not without risks, especially if the fistula channel is in a risky position.
Risk of Incontinence
The biggest worry about fistula surgery is that the patient will get some form of incontinence after that. This is because fistula tracts often pass through the anal sphincter which is a set of two muscles which control the passage of waste materials and gas through the rectum. The person may not be able to exert proper control if the muscles are damaged.
Risk of Stool Incontinence
When sphincter muscle is damaged, patients may not be able to hold in their solid waste further. This is known as stool incontinence.
Risk of Gas Incontinence
Sphincter system has an involuntary muscle that is responsible to keep gas and liquid from passing out of the rectum. When this sphincter muscle is ruptured in a fistulotomy, a person may not be able to control the passage of gas.
Risk of Infection
Any surgical procedure involves a risk of infection. Fistulotomy involves an open cut that is in close proximity to fecal matter. Although it is not generally a cause of infection, a proper cleaning and wound care are important.
Risk of Recurrence
There is always a possibility that an anal fistula will recur although, in fistulotomy, the recurrence rate is low.