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Introduction

Let’s first understand what a fistula is.

An anal fistula is a tract having two openings—internal and external openings. The track acts as a bridge between the primary opening inside the anal canal to a secondary opening in the perianal skin. Moreover, a complex fistula may have multiple openings or branches.

 

Anal fistula is quite common; it affects the perianal region and involves an infection that usually starts from a blocked anal gland. Fistulas occur because of an anal gland infection that spreads to the skin and results in pus formation.

The common symptoms of fistula are pus discharge, pain, and swelling. In worst cases, patients may experience bleeding from the anal canal.

Fistulas take time to heal and require surgery to drain the pus to allow it to come out.

Well, there are multiple ways of treating fistula. However, most of them are open procedures.

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Why the Need for VAAFT?

Traditional methods to treat anal fistula were extremely complicated and painful. Hence, minimally invasive therapy is an immediate requirement!

Video-assisted anal fistula treatment or VAAFT is a video-controlled method for treating the fistula tract. It is an advanced surgery wherein a video telescope is passed through the fistula. The internal lining is damaged via current, and the pus is cleaned and washed.

The instrument used in this procedure is a fistuloscope, a camera that directly allows us to go deep into the fistula tract and find all the multiple branches, clean the fistula tract, and close the internal opening so the fistula does not reoccur.

This procedure guarantees safe results causing no harm to the adjacent sphincter muscle. VAAFT is done under general anesthesia and does not cause wounds or scars; hence, no dressings. It’s almost a painless procedure, and the patient is sent home either on the same day or the next.

What are the Advantages of VAAFT?

Standard procedures to treat anal fistula, namely, fistulutomy/fistulectomy involves complete removal of fistula using a knife, thereby causing pain, discomfort, and bleeding. Above all, these procedures cause wounds and have a long recovery time; therefore, patients have to suffer from extended hospitalization. Moreover, these procedures don’t guarantee effective results.

However, VAAFT allows accurate diagnosis of the fistula tract under vision. It not only removes the fistula but also shuts the opening to avoid further recurrence. When it comes to anal fistula treatment, VAAFT has always delivered excellent results.

Additionally, VAAFT leaves behind no scars, nor does it damages the anal sphincter. Now, getting rid of anal fistula is a day-care procedure; no prolonged medication and long hospital stay.

What are the Post-VAAFT Treatment Care?

The most important aspect is to maintain hygiene. Hygiene while having sex, anal and toilet hygiene, etc. Avoid excessive spicy food, and stay away from sedatives and painkillers. Consult your doctor before taking medicines.

Rush to the doctor immediately in case you suffer from pain, bleeding, or swelling while passing stool, bowel pain, discharge of pus, the opening of the skin, etc.

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FAQ's

How is Anal Fistula Diagnosed?

Fistulas are usually diagnosed via physical examination, a CT scan, and, if required, tests like a barium enema, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, fistulogram, or upper endoscopy.

How Severe is a Fistula?

Fistulas can cause extreme discomfort, and if left unattended, may result in severe complications. Some fistulas can result in a bacterial infection, which leads to sepsis—a critical condition that can lower blood pressure, organ failure, or even death. Fortunately, VAAFT is now available—a modern, reliable, safe, painless, and effective procedure for treating fistulas.

Is Fistula Cancerous?

An anal fistula is a mild sign of cancer. However, if unnoticed for long, it may lead to cancer.

How is VAAFT Performed?

The VAAFT is a two-step procedure, namely, diagnostic and operative. Before the process begins, patients are given general anesthesia and then placed in a lithotomy position.

To analyze, a fistuloscope is inserted into the fistula that helps locate the internal opening, secondary tract, and pus cavities. The anal canal is held using a speculum, and the drainage liquid is then passed to clear the fistula tract.

Light from the fistuloscope helps locate the internal opening of the fistula.

During the operative phase, the fistula tract is cleaned and sealed; this is done under video assistance. The material in the fistula tract is damaged. The surgeon, further, seals the opening using a stapler.

How Long is the Healing Period?

Since VAAFT is a minimally invasive procedure, it offers quick healing and is a day surgery. Patients can either return home the same day or the next. A week is more than enough to recover, depending on the complexity of the fistula.

The interesting part is that patients can resume work and other activities in two to three days. As compared to conventional fistula treatment methods, VAAFT has a higher healing rate.

When is VAAFT a Good Choice?

VAAFT is the most recommended treatment procedure for treating fistulas at any stage. However, if you’re suffering from complex, severe, and unbearable fistulas that have stopped responding to other traditional methods, VAAFT is the best choice to opt for. It’s risk-free, reliable, effective, and offers sustainable results.

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