Is an operation always needed for a fistula?

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Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

A fistula is an abnormal connection between two parts of the body. It can happen between two organs or vessels in the body. They can occur in various areas of the body. However, the most common ones are anal, urinary tract and gastrointestinal fistulas. The first line of treatment is through medications, such as antibiotics and if that fails then a fistula surgery is needed. Whether a fistula needs an operation or not is entirely dependent on the condition of the patient. There are various types of fistula treatment options available.

Can I avoid a fistula operation?

Not necessarily. There are various types of fistulas, most of which require surgical intervention. Some fistulas can be treated only with antibiotics and other medications. In cases when these interventions don’t work, surgical removal of the fistula may be necessary.  One cannot determine if antibiotics or other medications can treat the fistula until the location (anal or urinary tract or gastrointestinal, etc.) and severity is determined by a healthcare expert. However, most of the cases require surgery.

The NHS states that usually, surgical intervention is necessary to treat an anal fistula as these types of fistulas normally usually do not heal on their own. Various types of surgical procedures are there and the position of the fistulas and whether it’s a single channel or branches off in different directions will determine the type of surgery needed.

According to Hopkins Medicine, once a person gets an anal fistula, antibiotics alone will not cure it and surgery is needed to treat it.

A few options other than surgery include using a medical plug, placing a thin surgical cord called a seton to drain the infection and heal it, using a medical glue and opening up the fistula with an incision along its length to allow it to heal.

How serious is a fistula operation?

Fistulas can cause a lot of discomfort and, if left untreated, may cause serious complications.

For small fistulas, the doctor may perform an in-office procedure. A procedure called fistulotomy is done to open and drain the fistula. The doctor may apply stitches to seal the fistula, allowing it to heal.

Larger fistulas will require proper surgery to close them properly. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics and painkillers to prevent infections. Also, in the case of anal fistulas, even stool softeners might be prescribed to make bowel movements easier while healing. 

Small fistulas may take just a few days or weeks to heal. However, larger fistulas can take a longer time to heal and may even require additional surgeries.  

The surgery, like any other surgery, comes with certain complications, which may be general or specific. The general complications include pain, bleeding, infection, allergic reaction and scarring. Rarely, the patient may experience difficulty passing urine, bowel incontinence, involuntarily passing wind or losing faeces. 

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

More in

Questions
Fact Check
Interviews
Stories
Videos
Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Can a fistula operation be avoided?
Whether an operation is needed for fistula or not is decided by the doctor as per the location of the fistula and if antibiotics are able to treat it or not. In some cases, the doctor may decide on other intervention such as medical plug, placement of seton, medical glue and drainage to avoid the surgery.

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Dr. Shikha Shiromani
Dr. Shikha Shiromani
A dental surgeon by education and medical writer by profession, Shikha is responsible for research and fact-check.
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