Anal fistulas are a relatively common condition, which can occur to just about anyone. Often the result of an infection in the anus, a fistula appears as a small tunnel when drained. For many, this condition can be chronic and is highly likely to not go away on its own. In the majority of cases, surgery is required to treat this condition and provide relief.

If you’re living with an anal fistula, it can make day-to-day life unpleasant, leading to daily pain and even further problems. But there is a solution – with many different surgical options available to help manage this condition and leave you pain-free in next to no time.

As a specialist in digestive surgery and treatments, Mr Alastair Windsor can offer a range of different treatments to match the needs of each patient’s lifestyle and requirements, including:

Drainage of abscess

The most obvious and fundamental treatment for an anal fistula is to drain it as quickly as possible, offering the tissue a way to heal quickly and efficiently. This treatment can often offer relief and the potential for healing to many different patients, especially in conditions that are less severe.


A Seton is also known as a surgical thread and may be recommended to patients whose anal fistula is across a large part of the anal sphincter. This thread is left within the fistula for several weeks to promote and allow drainage over time, promoting healing. This technique doesn’t remove the fistula, but simply provides relief and drainage, and can be combined with tighter Setons to cut the area slowly.

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    Lay open of fistula

    A lay open of a fistula involved a more invasive surgery, which can often be quicker and more efficient than other methods. This encourages the area to heal as a flat scar, with no ‘tunnel’ left following the surgery. However, this particular surgery isn’t suitable in all cases and can generally only be used that don’t pass through much of the sphincter muscles, to avoid potential incontinence.

    LIFT procedure

    Known as the ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract or LIFT, this treatment is a more precise form of the lay-open for fistulas that go through the sphincter, involving smaller cuts in which the fistula is sealed at both ends in order to ensure the sphincter is not affected.

    Anal fistula plug

    A cone-shaped plug, most likely made of animal tissue, is another alternative to anal fistulas in more risky locations, acting as a way to seal off an anal fistula rather than cut it open. This treatment is in its early stages, though research has suggested that it’s an effective method for the treatment of this condition.

    Years of experience in the digestive medical field has made Mr Alastair Windsor a specialist colorectal surgeon in London, with the skills and expertise needed to improve your health conditions with effective, practical surgeries customised for each patient according to their needs and requirements. If you’re considering a private anal fistula surgeon for your treatment, contact us today to find out more about our services, and how we can help you.