An anal fistula is a tunnel that forms inside the anus and connects somewhere in the skin around the anus. An anal fistula usually appears after an infection that does not heal properly. An anal fistula also forms when the glands, inside the anus, get clogged or blocked and causes bacteria buildup inside the anal tissues. In the simplest definition, an anal fistula is an abnormal connection between the anal canal and the perianal skin. An anal fistula can be treated either by open surgery or laser surgery.
What to expect on the day of laser surgery for anal fistula?
Laser surgery is most commonly performed as a daycare procedure which means the person can return home the very same day of the surgery. However, if the anal fistula had become complex, or the person had to undergo open surgery for hir or her anal fistula, the patient may require to stay in the hospital for a few days until the doctor seems fit.
The surgery may take anywhere between 30-45 minutes, but the person will need to spend extra time in the hospital to prepare for the surgery and after the surgery.
During laser surgery, the proctologist inserts a radiation-emitting probe into the area where the fistula has developed. The laser radiation emitted from the probe is directed at the fistula to destroy its epithelium and obliterates the rest of the anal channel or anal tract.
What to expect during the recovery process?
How long does it take for a person to recover depends on the complexities and the severity of the anal fistula during the time of laser surgery. At Pristyn Care, each patient of anal fistula is guided by an experienced anorectal surgeon not only during the course of the surgery but also with the best practices for recovery for easy recovery. Wounds from open surgery for anal fistula need around 6 weeks to heal. But, in the case of laser surgery, the complete recovery does not take more than 2-3 weeks.
General advice that you can expect your fistula specialist to recommend you may include these:
- There might be some pain at the surgical site for which the doctor may recommend over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.
- Change the dressing of the surgical wound regularly. You may do it yourself or take help from a nurse if required.
- Use cotton and warm water to wash the skin. You can also use a wet towel or sponge and pat the skin dry.
- You should avoid using perfumed products and talcum powder on the wounds. These products can irritate the skin around the fistula.
- Do not let dirt accumulate at the surgical site. Keep the wound clean by washing it several times a day. After washing, pat the area dry but make sure not to irritate the skin.
- Do not indulge in sexual intercourse for at least 10 days after the laser surgery.
- If there is discharge from the surgical wound, use an extra gauze pad over the wound.
- Practice gentle exercise to help faster healing of the wound.
- Refrain from lifting heavyweights.
Can there be any risks and complications after laser surgery for anal fistula?
With any surgery, comes a certain amount of risks and complications. The same happens in the case of laser surgery for anal fistula. Here are a few complications that patients worldwide:
- If recommended post-recovery instructions are not followed properly, the surgery site may take a longer time to heal.
- Although the chances are very low, in some cases, the fistula may come back.
- If the surgery is not done properly, the anal canal might narrow down, making it difficult for the person to pass stool.
- In case the person experiences severe pain and discomfort, the person should contact a proctologist without delay.
Laser surgery for anal fistula is a safe and effective, non-invasive treatment that treats fistula easily and guarantees no recurrence. Fistula specialists, proctologists, and anorectal surgeons worldwide trust laser surgery as the best treatment for anal fistula because of the following benefits:
- The treatment is cost-effective
- The surgery involves no cuts or incision
- There’s no risk of infection during and after the surgery
- There’s very little chance for recurrence of anal fistula
- Patients can resume normal activities within 24 hours
- Patients can recover quickly after the surgery.
Fistula is not complicated or life-threatening in itself but one needs to make sure to get the right treatment in time and follow what the doctor advises.