Anal Fistula Surgery


An anal fistula is a small tunnel that forms between the anal canal and the skin of the anus. They usually develop where an anal abscess doesn’t heal properly after the fluid from the abscess creates a tunnel to drain away, and remains open. Anal fistulas won’t usually get better on their own and in most cases surgery is recommended.


Symptoms of an Anal Fistula

Symptoms include skin irritation and swelling around the anus, a throbbing pain, bleeding or discharge when going to the toilet, and pain when passing stools.


Fistulas can affect anybody but are more common in men aged 30 – 50.


Diagnosis of an Anal Fistula

A specialist consultant will perform a careful digital rectal examination to assess the perianal area and determine if it is a simple (low) or complex (high) fistula.  This relates to the position of the fistula in relation to the sphincter muscles. If a high fistula is suspected an MRI scan is essential to accurately assess the anal canal anatomy and look for further branches of the fistula.



If the fistula is low a fistulotomy will be performed. This means the fistula is laid open to the skin so the wound can heal with healthy tissue. This will only be done if the surgeon is happy that external anal sphincter damage is minimal and continence will be unimpaired.


If the fistula is high, more than one operation may be required. Initially a seton stitch will be placed in the fistula to allow fluid to drain easily, reduce the risk of infection and allow the tunnel to begin to heal.  A few months later a more definitive operation can be considered. No single procedure works for all cases but options include a fistulotomy, a fistula plug, LIFT (ligation of intersphincteric tract), FILAC (laser closure) or collagen paste.


Expected Results

Most procedures are day case procedures and patients will be prescribed analgesia, antibiotics and laxatives. A week off work is advised although it may take several weeks to heal completely.


Need Help?

Anal fistula surgery is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire. 


You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Anal Fistula Surgery treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Hatfield Hospital.

Why One Hatfield

  • Modern purpose-built hospital opened in December 2017
  • Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound
  • Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
  • Specialist physiotherapy and nursing teams
  • Little or no waiting time
  • ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
  • Freshly prepared food
  • Calm, dignified experience

Contact us and find out more

If you are based in and around Hertfordshire, St Albans, Stevenage, Watford, North London, Welwyn or Bedfordshire and would like to visit the One Hatfield Hospital please click here.

Colorectal Surgery Pricing Guide at One Hatfield Hospital

This is a list of guide prices for some of common Colorectal Surgery treatments and procedures.

Treatment Guide Price Monthly from
Haemorrhoidectomy £2,550  £56.98

General Surgery Pricing Guide at One Hatfield Hospital

This is a list of guide prices for some of common General Surgery treatments and procedures.

Treatment Guide Price Monthly from
Hernia Repair - Groin (Inguinal) - Open surgery £2,999
Gall Bladder Removal (Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy) £6,187.50  £131.31
Haemorrhoidectomy £2,550 £58.10
Contact the Hospital About Anal Fistula Surgery