The aim of the study was to present our own experience in the treatment of anal fistulas by means of VAAFT (Video-Assisted Anal Fistula Treatment).
<bold>Material and methods. </bold>Twenty patients were qualified for the VAAFT procedure. All were subjected to diagnostics. Two patients after the diagnostic stage underwent classical fistula surgery. The remaining 18 patients were subjected to the full procedure (diagnostic fistuloscopy, supply of the internal ostium, and coagulation of the fistula canal). The mean observation period was 10 months.
<bold>Results. </bold>In most cases the trans-sphincter fistula was observed during the diagnostic phase, including three with additional fluid compartments. There was one intersphincteric fistula. Considering the 18 patients subjected to the full VAAFT procedure the internal ostium was supplied by means of an advancement flap in 3 cases, while in 11 by means of a mattress suture, including one with additional tissue glue. In 4 cases the internal ostium was tightly covered by mucosa. Surgical complications were not observed during the procedure. During further observation a permanent fistula was observed in 4 (22%) patients, and in two (17%), recurrence of anal fistula. In the remaining 12 patients one observed healing without fistula recurrence. Complications were not observed, including stool and gas control deterioration (based on the FISI scoring).
<bold>Conclusions. </bold>The VAAFT method does not affect sphincter efficiency, no intra- and postoperative complications were observed. As compared to other minimally invasive procedures a comparable recovery rate is observed without the risk of incontinence. It is the only method enabling the intraoperative identification of the internal ostium and fistula canal under visual control. Initial optimistic results require further investigations on a larger group of patients.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.