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Anal Fistula Specialist

Jeffrey S Aronoff, MD

Colorectal Surgeon located in New York, NY

Anal fistulas are often quite painful and inconvenient, and they can develop into severe, even life-threatening conditions like sepsis if you don’t seek care. At the Midtown East, Manhattan, office of expert colorectal surgeon Jeffrey S. Aronoff, MD, PC, you can get anal fistula treatment that ends your symptoms and heals the underlying problem. For the best in colorectal care in a convenient location, call the New York City office or book an appointment online.

Anal Fistula Q&A

What is an anal fistula?

An anal fistula is a path that forms between an infected anal gland (an abscess) and a skin opening near the anus. Some common signs of an anal fistula include:

  • Anorectal (anal and rectal) pain
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Swelling
  • Skin redness around the anus
  • Skin irritation around the anus
  • Fluid drainage (blood or pus) from around the anal opening
  • Foul smelling drainage or bowel movements
  • Blood on toilet tissue or in toilet bowl
  • Fever

Many patients who have anal abscesses have a history of anorectal issues, so the symptoms may not seem that unusual at first. If you notice these issues, however, it’s important to seek help before it can cause life-threatening complications like sepsis. 

What causes anal fistulas?

The main causes of anal fistulas include clogged anal glands and abscesses. Abscesses form when one of your anal glands grows clogged, and then grows infected. Around 50% of anal abscesses grow into fistulas. 

Additional causes of anal fistulas can include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticulitis, characterized by inflamed pouches in your large intestine
  • Radiation, a cancer treatment
  • Sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, chlamydia, HIV, AIDS
  • Tuberculosis
  • Anorectal cancer

Your anal fistula treatment can vary according to what is causing it, but it’s a very treatable problem with Dr. Aronoff’s expert care. 

What is the treatment for anal fistulas?

In many cases, Dr. Aronoff can perform an office-based surgical procedure called a fistulotomy, which opens and cleans out the fistula. Then, he can often place small stitches to close the fistula. 

If you have a bigger fistula that affects your sphincter muscle, you may need more extensive surgery to successfully remove the infection and seal the tunnel. 

During your recovery, Dr. Aronoff typically prescribes medications like antibiotics to deter infection. It’s very important to follow his guidelines regarding cleaning and recovery, which may include warm baths and using moist cloths after bowel movements. 

Anal fistulas may require additional specific treatment if you have an underlying condition like a sexually transmitted disease. 

You can recover from the pain and misery of an anal fistula with a simple in-office procedure at Jeffrey S. Aronoff, MD, PC. Call the office or click on the online appointment tool to set up your consultation.