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Anal Fistula Specialist

Karen Zaghiyan, MD, FACS, FASCRS

Colorectal Surgeon located in Los Angeles, CA

Anal fistulas cause a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms, but Karen Zaghiyan, MD, FACS, FASCRS, can provide relief at her practice in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Zaghiyan offers the most cutting-edge and minimally invasive treatments available to help manage colorectal conditions like anal fistulas and abscesses. If you have pain or discharge near your anus, call Karen Zaghiyan MD or schedule an appointment online today.

Anal Fistula

What is an anal fistula?

An anal fistula is a tunnel that occurs between the anus and its surrounding skin. These holes often develop when your anal glands become clogged, generally because of an infection or abscess that creates a cavity. 

Additional causes of anal fistulas include:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Radiation
  • Trauma
  • Cancer

An anal fistula also develops 50% of the time after a perianal abscess.


What is an anal abscess?

An anal abscess is a pus-filled cavity near your rectum or anus. These generally develop when one of your anal glands becomes clogged, triggering an overgrowth of bacteria. When this occurs, it leads to an infection and abscess.

An anal abscess usually requires surgical drainage. Dr. Zaghiyan performs this procedure under local anesthetic or sedation, depending on the size of your abscess and severity of your infection.

After the anal abscess drains, a tunnel or fistula can still exist between your anus and skin, increasing your risk of a fistula.


What are the symptoms of an anal fistula?

Both anal abscesses and fistulas cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness around your anus
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Painful bowel movements or urination
  • Fever and chills
  • Fatigue and malaise

It’s also common to experience drainage and leakage from the external opening in your skin when you have a fistula.


How are anal fistulas treated?

In most cases, Dr. Zaghiyan recommends surgery to treat issues like anal abscesses and fistulas. 

Dr. Zaghiyan uses several different approaches to repair fistulas, depending on their location, type, and cause. It’s common to need two or more procedures to effectively repair the damage. 

Additionally, sometimes Dr. Zaghiyan needs to insert a temporary drain, or seton, to reduce inflammation before repairing your fistula.

After having fistula treatment surgery, Dr. Zaghiyan recommends following a high-fiber diet and taking stool softeners and laxatives to prevent constipation from developing. 

You may need to take some time off from work to recover, depending on the type of surgery required.

To learn more about anal fistula treatment, call Karen Zaghiyan MD or schedule an appointment online today.