07-19-2011, 08:10 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Anal Fistuals

Hey all,

Just a quick question..

My girlfriend has an anal fistual for roughly one year and has had a Seton Tube in place for the duration. I'm a little confused as to why this can not be removed or operated on?

Thanks in advance for your help
07-19-2011, 12:47 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Harlow, United Kingdom

The seton allows any infection to drain. If it were removed the chances of developing an abscess increase. With an abscess there is likely to be increased pain and possibility that your girlfriend could become seriously ill.

As for surgery, it really depends how much of the sphincter muscle is involved. The usual surgery is just to cut through the fistula and leave it open to heal from the inside out. If too much of the sphincter muscle is cut then your girlfriend could end-up being incontinent.

You don't say if your girlfriend has been diagnosed with Crohn's? If she has Crohn's, the best course of treatment seems to be a combination of surgical drainage I.E. the seton and immunosupressive or anti-TNF drug treatment.

Take a look at this fact sheet from Crohn's and Colitis UK for further information.


Hope that helps and that your girlfriend's situation improves soon.


Diagnosed late 1980ís
Azathioprine & Infliximab not tolerated
Humira since Aug 2010, weekly since Jun 2011
12 EUAs, setons removed & fistulotomy Dec 2012
07-19-2011, 04:19 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pennsylvania

My Support Groups:
Mark has said it all. I'm not a doctor, but I do think there is a correlation between the cause of the fistula/abscess and where it's located, as to what treatment options are available to her. IMO, there's no reason her surgeon can't make clear to her the specifics of her case.

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