Characteristics of perianal abscess and fistula-in-ano in healthy children

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Background: Probably because of the low frequency, perianal abscess (PA) and fistula-in-ano (FIA) in children older than 2 years have not been investigated except in those with a predisposing condition such as Crohn's disease. This study aims to summarize our experience about the characteristics and treatment of PA and FIA in healthy children. Methods: The charts of all children older than 24 months of age treated for PA and/or FIA from 1990 to 2003 were reviewed. Results: We found 40 patients, 37 of them boys (92.5%), ranging from 2 to 14 years of age (average: 7.19 years). At the first examination, the diagnosis was PA in 36 patients (mean age: 6.8 years; range: 2.3-13 years), and FIA in 4 patients (mean age: 10.8 years; range: 6-14 years). The primary local treatment of PA was drainage (needle aspiration in 26 patients, and incision and drainage in 4 patients) and local care in 6 patients. All patients received antibiotics. Overall, 29 children (80.6%) had primary cure of the abscess. Evolution included recurrent abscess in 3 patients (8.3%) and FIA in 4 patients (11.1%). Crohn's disease was diagnosed in only one boy with an abscess of long duration. No patient developed a new PA in another location or a recurrent FIA. Four male patients aged 6 to 14 years (range: 7.1 years) had a FIA of long duration. One patient underwent a fistulectomy. Crohn's disease was found in three other children and treated conservatively. Conclusion: Drainage of PA by needle aspiration associated with antibiotics is effective in children older than 2 years of age with a low rate of evolution toward FIA. Associated pathology must be ruled out in children with FIA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-472
Number of pages6
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


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