Ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract (LIFT) is a novel sphincter-preserving technique for anal fistula. This pilot study was designed to evaluate the results in patients with a recurrent fistula.
Seventeen patients [nine men; median age 49 (range, 30-76) years] with a recurrent trans-sphincteric fistula were treated with a LIFT procedure between June 2008 and February 2011. All were followed prospectively for a median of 16 (range, 5-27) weeks with clinical examination. Fifteen followed for 13.5 (range, 8-26) months by clinical examination also had three-dimensional (3D) anal ultrasound.
The duration of the procedure was 35 (range, 18-70) min. One patient developed a small local haematoma and one had a subcutaneous infection, but otherwise there was no morbidity. At follow up, 11 (65%) patients had a successful closure, two (12%) had a remaining sinus and four (23%) had a persistent fistula. The incidence of persistent or recurrent fistulae at 13.5 months was six (40%) of 15 patients. No de novo faecal incontinence was reported.
LIFT is a safe procedure for patients with recurrent anal fistula, with healing at short-term and medium-term follow-up comparable with or superior to that of other sphincter-preserving techniques. Larger studies with a longer follow up are needed to define the ultimate role of LIFT in patients with recurrence.
2013. Vol. 15, no 5, 592-595 p.