Anal Fistula Specialist
Yosef Y Nasseri, MD
Minimally Invasive and Robotic Colorectal Surgeon & Robotic Surgeon located in Los Angeles, CA
Anal Fistula Q & A
What is an anal fistula?
An anal fistula is a small tunnel that develops inside your anal tract connecting a gland to an external opening in your skin. The tunnels form when these mucus-making glands become clogged. Blocked glands can become infected, which may lead to an abscess. In addition to clogged anal glands, a fistula can be the result of:
- Crohn’s disease
- Sexually transmitted disease
You may also develop a fistula if you have diverticulitis, a disease that causes small, inflamed pouches to form in your intestines. These pouches can also become infected and lead to an abscess and the development of a fistula.
What are the symptoms of an anal fistula?
One of the most common symptoms of an anal fistula is persistent pain and swelling around the anus. You may also experience symptoms like:
- Anal abscess
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Pain with bowel movements
As a result of the infection, you may also develop a fever, chills, and general fatigue.
How is an anal fistula diagnosed?
During your evaluation for an anal fistula, Dr. Nasseri reviews your medical history and examines your anus to identify visible openings in the skin around the anus and signs of drainage.
To confirm the depth and direction of the fistula or determine if you have fistulas that haven’t reached the surface of your skin, Dr. Nasseri may request additional diagnostic tests like ultrasound, MRI, or an anoscopy. An anoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure where Dr. Nasseri inserts a scope into your anus and rectum that sends real-time images of your internal structures to an external monitor.
If Dr. Nasseri suspects the fistula is the result of an underlying lower digestive tract disorder, he may recommend other testing, such as a colonoscopy, to diagnose conditions like Crohn’s disease.
How is an anal fistula treated?
Treating an anal fistula typically requires surgery. Dr. Nasseri specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques to eliminate the fistula and protect the health of your anal sphincter muscle. If damage to this muscle occurs, it can result in bowel incontinence.
Dr. Nasseri performs a fistulotomy, a procedure to remove skin and muscle around the tunnel. In complex fistulas, he may also need to place a drain.
If you have a very complex anorectal or rectovaginal fistula, Dr. Nasseri is highly skilled in specialized surgical techniques to remove the tunnel and prevent additional health complications.
Don’t ignore symptoms of an anal fistula. Schedule a diagnostic consultation with Dr. Nasseri today by calling the office or by requesting an appointment online today.