Rectovaginal fistula is a medical condition in which an abnormal connection is formed between the rectum and the vagina, allowing stool or gas to pass through the vagina. This can cause significant discomfort and embarrassment for individuals affected by the condition.
Various treatment options are available for rectovaginal fistula, including surgical repair, fistulotomy, and seton placement. However, these treatments may not always be effective or may have associated risks and complications.
Laser treatment has emerged as a potential alternative or complementary treatment option for rectovaginal fistula. In this procedure, a laser is used to create an opening through the rectal wall, allowing the fistula to be accessed and treated. Laser treatment can be performed using different types of lasers, including carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers.
The use of laser treatment for rectovaginal fistula is still relatively new, and the available research on its effectiveness is limited. However, some studies have reported promising results. For example, a study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research found that CO2 laser treatment resulted in complete closure of the fistula in 60% of patients, with partial closure in an additional 28%.
Another study published in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology reported that 85% of patients who underwent laser treatment for rectovaginal fistula experienced complete closure of the fistula, with no adverse effects reported.
The laser treatment procedure typically involves the use of a specialized laser probe that is inserted through the anus and into the rectum. The laser is then used to create an opening in the rectal wall, allowing the fistula to be accessed and treated. The laser energy is directed at the fistula tract, causing it to shrink and seal off. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia or sedation, and patients may experience some discomfort or cramping during the procedure.
After the procedure, patients may experience some mild pain or discomfort in the treated area, as well as some bleeding and discharge. However, these symptoms usually resolve within a few days to a week. Patients are typically advised to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for several weeks after the procedure to allow the treated area to heal.
While laser treatment appears to be a promising option for rectovaginal fistula, it is important to note that not all patients may be suitable candidates for this procedure. Patients with large or complex fistulas may require more extensive surgical repair, and laser treatment may not be appropriate in these cases. Additionally, laser treatment may not be effective in all cases, and patients may require additional treatments or procedures to achieve complete closure of the fistula.
In conclusion, laser treatment is a relatively new and promising treatment option for rectovaginal fistula. While the available research on its effectiveness is limited, some studies have reported high success rates with minimal complications. However, patients should consult with a healthcare professional to determine if laser treatment is an appropriate option for their specific case, and to discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure.
Dr Sambit Patnaik is a minimal invasive, laser and robotic colorectal surgeon trained in India and abroad who runs Mumbai Piles Laser Clinic located at Chembur , Kurla, Tardeo and Charni Road for laser treatment of piles hemorrhoids anal fissure and anal fistula. Dr Sambit Patnaik practises in Dubai and Mumbai. He is also attached to many premier hospitals in Mumbai