What are anal fistulas?

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Jared C. Frattini, MD
Colorectal Surgery
Jared Frattini, MD from Medical Center of Trinity describes anal fistulas and the necessity for surgery in these cases.
Stephanie A. Wishnev, MD
Colorectal Surgery
A fistula is an infection inside the anus that burrows its way out to the skin and stays infected, says Stephanie Wishnev, MD, a colorectal surgeon at MountainView Hospital. In this video, she says fistulas begin as an abcess.
Anal fistulas are abnormal, small channels or connections between the rectum and skin in the anorectal region. Anal fistulas often develop from an acute infection of an anal gland, located inside the anal opening. The infection causes an abscess to form, which then develops into a fistula or channel leading to the outside skin.Anal fistulas may also be caused by surgery, Crohn's disease, or radiation therapy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.