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How long does an anal fistula take to heal?

Q: I had surgery for anal fistula last year. Till date, I have what seems like complete healing, but then I begin to get drainage or leakage again. How long should I expect this to occur?

A:An anal fistula is an inflammatory tract between the anal canal and the skin which, originates in the anal crypts. When the anal crypts get infected an abscess forms and if this abscess opens or ruptures, it leads to a fistula formation. Following surgery you may have been advised: Sitz baths (sitting in a basin of warm water), pain killers, and stool bulking agents. Visit your surgeon often within the first few weeks to ensure proper healing and wound care i.e. the internal wound does not close prematurely causing a recurrent fistula. Wound healing usually occurs within 6 weeks while complete healing occurs by 12 weeks unless an underlying disease process is present like recurrence or Crohn’s disease.


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