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Anal fistula diagnosed. Suggested surgery. Is there any examination to determine the depth of fistula?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
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Hello I was told by my proctologist that I have an anal fistula after examination where he took some images. He has said that I need an operation which he may need to perform twice in the event that the fistual is deeper than he now thinks it is. What I need to know is whether there is any examination that can be done to determine the extent of the fistula before the operation begins.
Posted Thu, 12 Jul 2012 in X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 9 hours later

Thanks for your query.

There are no defined imaging or non invasive techniques to know the exact length of a fistula.

A CT (Computed tomography) or a MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan can identify some more details like its relation with other important structures like sphincter etc but the extent is always missed in the scans.

Usually the extent of a fistula is done by exploring the fistula using a fistula probe (a narrow instrument) and in this way it may be possible to find both openings of the fistula.Such a test cannot be done in the lab or in the out patient clinic.It is a procedure done under anaesthesia.

I consider you doctor mentioning two surgeries means that one for diagnosing the exact length and the course of the fistula and the second one to excise it.

Hope I answered your query.

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