About this Research Topic
Anal fistulas (AF) are defined as an abnormal epithelialized tract connecting the rectal mucosa with the perianal skin and occur in approximately 2 per 10,000 people per year.
Typical symptoms include pain and discharge from an external opening, which could lead to skin irritation, excoriation, and pruritus. Cryptoglandular anal fistulas (AF) are thought to arise from an infected anal gland at the base of the anal crypts located at the level of the dentate line. Less frequently, abscesses and fistulas are a consequence of a more specific cause such as Crohn’s disease.
In 1976, Parks et al. proposed a classification system for AF that result from cryptoglandular infection, by distinguishing between intersphincteric, transsphincteric, suprasphincteric, and extrasphincteric. Treatment is related to track classification.
There are several approaches in the management of AF. Treatment strategy should aim to preserve the integrity of the anal sphincters whilst allowing adequate drainage and prevent fistula recurrence. In recent years several sphincter preserving techniques have been trialed with the aim of minimizing the risk of incontinence associated with laying open the fistula track. However, these have found variable success rates, and data are limited by the absence of long term follow up.
In the present special issue, we are encouraging experienced colleagues to submit original research articles, case studies, and review articles regarding the main points of debate of AF, from diagnostics to treatment.
We welcome submissions on the following topics:
• Emerging Technologies
• Post-operative Complications
• Surgical Treatment
• Special Conditions
Keywords: Anal fistula, sphincter-sparing techniques, novel technologies, endoanal ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, Crohn's disease, healing, classification, patients' perspectives, cost-effectiveness
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.