Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2004; 8 (3): 111-116

Radiofrequency fistulectomy vs. diathermic fistulotomy for submucosal fistulas: a randomized trial

V. Filingeri, G. Gravante, E. Baldessari, C.U. Casciani

Department of Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome (Italy)


Background: Anal fistula represents one of the most frequent anorectal disease. Fistulotomy is considered the gold standard treatment but related problems are numerous (postoperative pain, bleeding, delayed or impaired wound healing). Fistulectomy lowers the recurrences but is less feasible with longer operating time and healing process. We applied the radiofrequencies to fistulectomy and compared the early and late results with those obtained from traditional fistulotomy.

Methods: Twenty patients were randomized to undergo radiofrequency fistulectomy (10 patients, Group A) or conventional fistulotomy (10 patients, Group B). We analysed the first postoperative day pain, intra- and postoperatory bleeding, operating time, complications (impaired or delayed wound healing, fecal incontinence) and any recurrences.

Results: The mean values for operative time have been 18.3 min for group A (range 15-26 min) and 17.9 min for group B (range 13-21 min). According to VAS scale, first postoperative day pain mean values were 2.8 for group A (range 2-4) and 4.1 for group B (range 3-5). Intra- and post-operative bleeding has always been negligible and faecal incontinence was never observed. Healing time mean values have been 3.5 weeks for group A (range 3-5) and 5.9 weeks for group B (range 4-8 weeks). Long-term results did not evidence complications or recurrences for both groups.

Conclusions: The application of radiofrequencies to fistulectomy renders more feasible and easies the operation. Postoperative pain is smaller than traditional fistulotomy because of the lower temperatures used and for the shorter time spent in coagulating. This gives a faster wound healing. In conclusion we think that radiofrequency fistulectomy is technically more advantageous than traditional fistulotomy and furnishes better results.

To cite this article

V. Filingeri, G. Gravante, E. Baldessari, C.U. Casciani
Radiofrequency fistulectomy vs. diathermic fistulotomy for submucosal fistulas: a randomized trial

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2004
Vol. 8 - N. 3
Pages: 111-116