Dr Gold is an internal medicine resident in the Department of Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, New York.
The treatment of perianal fistulas remains a clinical challenge despite the significant advances that have been made in the management of luminal inflammatory bowel disease. In combination with medical therapies, surgical management of perianal fistulas is important for both infection control and definitive repair. Older surgical techniques include the placement of draining and cutting setons and endorectal advancement flaps. Newer surgical techniques that utilize lasers and video-assisted technology are being studied to help patients with chronic, refractory perianal fistulas. In addition to surgical management, less-invasive endoscopic techniques, including endoscopic fistulotomy and endoscopic clipping, are being investigated. Looking forward, allogeneic and autologous adult mesenchymal stem cells are being evaluated to induce fistula healing and improve rates of fistula closure. Here, in the second of a 2-part series on perianal fistulas in patients with Crohn's disease, we discuss the current surgical management of perianal fistulas as well as newer endoscopic techniques and future therapies.
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