Fistulotomy is inappropriate for patients with a high transsphincteric fistula, passing through the upper or middle third of the external anal sphincter, because this procedure requires division of a large part of the anal sphincter, with subsequent risk of fecal incontinence. Therefore, sphincter preserving procedures have been developed for the treatment of high transsphincteric fistulas, such as flap repair. In most hospitals, fistulotomy is still the treatment of choice for low transsphincteric fistula, passing through the lower third of the external anal sphincter. Although this procedure is considered simple and effective with a minimal risk of incontinence, data suggest that the risk of diminished fecal continence is not insignificant. Ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract (LIFT) is a new sphincter preserving technique. This technique may be a sphincter preserving alternative for fistulotomy in low transsphincteric fistulas and for flap repair in high transsphincteric fistulas.
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Schouten, R., Gosselink, M. P., Thijsse, S., & van Onkelen, R. (2013). [Intersphincteric ligation of perianal fistula]. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 157(43). Retrieved from