If you have painful, red swelling around your anus, it’s possible you have an anal fistula. Jean Jaffke, MD, a double board-certified colorectal surgeon, offers diagnosis and in-office treatment for anal fistulas at her practice in Novi, Michigan. Anal fistulas often follow untreated infections, so even if your symptoms aren’t caused by a fistula, getting prompt medical attention can relieve your symptoms and prevent more serious conditions from developing. Call or book an appointment online today.
An anal fistula is a tunnel that extends from inside your anus to elsewhere in the tissue around it. Fistulas usually develop when you have an infection that doesn’t heal correctly.
There are several classifications of anal fistula, identified by their location. Dr. Jaffke uses these classifications to determine the best treatment for your condition.
Anal fistulas may or may not be painful. There may be swelling around the external opening of them, and there may be drainage of fluid — such as blood, mucus, clear fluid or pus.
Anal fistulas typically develop when you have an infection in your anus that healed poorly. You have glands inside your anus that produce fluid. When they are blocked or clogged, bacteria can multiply and create a pocket of infected tissue and pus known as an abscess.
When an abscess is left untreated, the area of infected tissue grows and can eventually reach the outside of your body or another part of the tissue around your anus and rectum.
Dr. Jaffke begins the diagnosis process with a conversation about your medical history and your symptoms. She performs a physical exam, checking for swelling and signs of pus, fluid, or bleeding. She may perform a digital exam to check for abnormalities in your anus.
In some cases, anal fistulas aren’t easy to identify. Dr. Jaffke may order additional tests including a colonoscopy, X-rays, or CT scans to check for signs of a fistula.
Dr. Jaffke offers outpatient surgical treatments for anal fistulas. You’ll have follow-up appointments so she can check the progress of your healing.
One approach that Dr. Jaffke often uses for anal fistulas is a collagen plug. She cleans the fistula and seals the internal opening with stitches. She fills the tunnel with a collagen plug, which is held in place with another stitch.
Dr. Jaffke uses the LIFT (ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract) procedure to treat fistulas located deeper in your anus. During this treatment, Dr. Jaffke accesses the fistula between the sphincter muscles. After identifying the tract, she divides it and closes both ends with stitches.
If you’re concerned about an anal fistula or an infection in your anal region, call or schedule an appointment online today for expert diagnosis and treatment.