Overview

Anal fistula is the medical term for an infected tunnel that develops between the skin and the muscular opening at the end of the digestive tract (anus).

Most anal fistulas are the result of an infection that starts in an anal gland. This infection results in an abscess that drains spontaneously or is drained surgically through the skin next to the anus. The fistula then forms a tunnel under the skin and connects with the infected gland.

Surgery is usually needed to treat anal fistula.

Anal fistula care at Mayo Clinic

Aug. 24, 2017
References
  1. Abscess and fistula expanded information. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/abscess-and-fistula-expanded-information. Accessed March 17, 2017.
  2. Feldman M, et al. Diseases of the anorectum. In: Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 17, 2017.
  3. Breen E, et al. Anorectal fistula: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management principles. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 17, 2017.
  4. Anorectal fistula (fistula in ano). Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/anorectal-disorders/anorectal-fistula. Accessed March 17, 2017.
  5. Sneider EB, et al. Anal abscess and fistula. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. 2013;42:773.
  6. Champagne BJ. Operative management of anorectal fistulas. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 17, 2017.
  7. Brown AY. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 25, 2017.
  8. Rajan E (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 24, 2017.