BACKGROUND: Instillation of fibrin glue, a simple and safe procedure, has been shown to have a moderate short-term success rate in the treatment of cryptogenic perianal fistulas. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess the long-term outcome of this procedure. DESIGN: This study included a retrospective chart review and telephone interviews. SETTINGS: This study was conducted at 4 university-affiliated medical centers. PATIENTS: Patients were included who underwent fibrin glue instillation for complex cryptogenic fistula between 2002 and 2003 within a prospective trial and had successful healing. INTERVENTIONS: Fibrin glue was instilled for complex cryptogenic fistula. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measure was long-term fistula healing. RESULTS: Sixty patients participated in the initial trial; the fistulas in 32 of these patients were healed at 6 months. We have located and interviewed 23 (72%) of those patients. Seventeen (74%) patients remained disease free at a mean follow-up of 6.5 years. Six (26%) patients had variable degrees of recurrence; 4 needed further surgical intervention and 2 were treated with antibiotics only. Recurrent disease occurred at an average of 4.1 years (range, 11 mo to 6 y) from surgery, and on several occasions was at a different location in the perianal region. None of the patients experienced incontinence following the procedure. LIMITATIONS: The retrospective nature of this long-term follow-up was a limitation. Twenty-eight percent of the potentially eligible patients were lost to long-term follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Short-term success of fibrin glue in the treatment of cryptogenic perianal fistula is predictive of long-term healing, but a quarter of those healed in the short term may develop recurrent symptoms in the long run. Injection of fibrin glue remains a safe and simple procedure and may preclude extensive surgery.
- Fibrin sealant
- Outcomes research