Preliminary results of video-assisted anal fistula treatment (VAAFT) in children

A. Pini Prato, C. Zanaboni, Manuela Mosconi, Cinzia Mazzola, Lodovico Muller, P. C. Meinero, M. G. Faticato, L. Leonelli, G. Montobbio, N. Disma, G. Mattioli

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Background: Anal fistula is a common acquired anorectal disorder in children. Treatment methods that have been used are associated with inconsistent results and possible serious complications. In 2011 a minimally invasive approach, video-assisted anal fistula treatment (VAAFT) was described for adult patients. The aim of the present study was to assess the first series of pediatric patients treated with VAAFT. Methods: All patients who underwent VAAFT between August 2013 and May 2015 were included. Demographics, clinical features, preoperative imaging, surgical details, outcome, and medium-term data were prospectively collected for each patient. Results: Thirteen procedures were performed in nine patients. The male to female ratio was 8:1, and the median age was 9.6 years. Five fistulas were idiopathic, three iatrogenic, and one associated with Crohn’s disease. Eight complete VAAFT procedures were performed. The remaining five procedures were either fistuloscopy and cutting seton placement or fistuloscopy and electrocoagulation, both without mucosal sleeve. The median length of surgery was 41 min. The median hospital stay was 24 h, and the median length of follow-up was 10 months. Resolution of the fistula was observed in all patients who underwent a complete VAAFT. In four out of five patients who underwent an incomplete procedure (without mucosal sleeve), the fistula recurred. No incontinence or soiling was reported in the medium term. Conclusions: VAAFT proved to be feasible and safe in children. It also proved to be versatile as it could be applied to fistulas of different etiologies. The key to success seems to be an adequate mucosal sleeve. Older children and adolescents benefit most from VAAFT which is a valid alternative to available surgical procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalTechniques in Coloproctology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 8 2016


  • Anal fistula
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Minimally invasive approach
  • Perianale abscess

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Surgery


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