An anal fistula is a small channel that develops between the end of the bowel and the skin near the anus. Surgery is usually necessary to treat an anal fistula as very few of them heal by themselves. People suffering from anal fistula can now opt for a new treatment that enables them to undergo the surgical procedure painlessly, with an assurance of fast recovery and less chances of re-occurrence.
Health experts in New Delhi said, "Video Assisted Anal Fistula Treatment (VAAFT), the new treatment for anal fistula, is an improved surgical procedure and people should prefer it due to its features of being a painless treatment and giving no problem in bowel movement after the procedure. The treatment requires no incision, making the process friendly and helps the patient to restart a normal life easily."
Dr. Ashish Bhanot, chief bariatric surgeon at city-based Nova-Apollo group Hospital, said, "Though there are various ways to treat anal fistula, some are conventional methods, which involve surgery. Treatment practices named Fistulutomy/Fistulectomy in such problems involve removal of complete fistula tract with help of a knife, causing a lot of pain and bleeding. The previous methods caused large wound and the patient required long hospitalization and daily dressing of big wounds, which usually take a long time to heal and require daily treatment. It also has slightly higher chances of re-occurrence."
Speaking about the VAAFT technique, Bhanot said, "Doctor can identify the internal opening of the fistula tract with help of an endoscope which navigates through the fistula tract under vision. The fistula is removed through a special electric current and after the removal of the fistula the opening is shut with the help of fibrin glue."
Dr. Sooraj Khanna, a surgeon at Safdarjung hospital, said, "VAAFT has given excellent results when it comes to anal fistula treatment. The most crucial thing is to maintain anal hygiene, toilet hygiene, having sex with protection, avoiding spicy foods and excessive sedatives and pain killers. People should immediately get themselves checked if they witness symptoms such as pain, swelling and bleeding while passing stool, pain in bowel movements, difficulty in performing normal activities and reddening on the opening of skin, discharge of pus. A clinical evaluation including a digital rectal examination is well enough to diagnose anal fistula, but many a times test like MRI, ultrasound, proctoscope, fistula probe and fistulogram are also done to understand the path of fistula."