Treatment of complex anal fistulas with the collagen fistula plug

Dimitrios Christoforidis, David A. Etzioni, Stanley M. Goldberg, Robert D Madoff, Anders Mellgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Anal fistulas that involve a significant amount of sphincter may be difficult to treat without compromising continence function. In this study, we evaluated our experience with the Surgisis® anal fistula plug, which was recently reported to be successful in >80 percent of patients with complex fistulas. METHODS: We retrospectively collected patient and fistula characteristics, procedure details, and follow-up information for all patients treated with the anal fistula plug at our institution from January 2006 through April 2007. The outcome was considered successful if the external opening was closed and if the patient had no drainage at the last follow-up. Using multivariate statistics, we analyzed the relationship between anal fistula plug success and several key variables. RESULTS: From January 2006 through April 2007, 47 patients with 49 complex anal fistulas underwent 64 anal fistula plug procedures. The median follow-up time for patients who were considered healed was 6.5 (range, 3-11) months. The success rate was 31 percent per procedure and 43 percent per patient. An increased amount of external sphincter involvement was associated with a higher failure rate (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: In our early experience with the anal fistula plug, 43 percent of patients with complex anal fistulas were successfully treated. Patients with less external sphincter involvement were more likely to heal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1482-1487
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Christoforidis’ research fellowship was supported by grants from the SICPA foundation, Lausanne, Switzerland, the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland and the Minnesota Colon & Rectal Foundation. Dr. Anders Mellgren received an honorarium for research consulting (two meetings) from Cook Medical. He receives research support and does consulting for American Medical Systems, Ethicon Endosurgery, and Q-med Scandinavia. Dr. Mellgren receives research support from Medtronic. Presented at the meeting of the European Society of Coloproctology, Malta, September 26 to 29, 2007. Reprints are not available. Address of correspondence: Dimiterios Christoforidis, M.D., Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, University of Minnesota, MMC 450, 420 Delaware Street S.E., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455. E-mail:


  • AFP
  • Anal
  • Collagen
  • Complex
  • Cryptoglandular
  • Fistula
  • Plug
  • Surgisis®


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