Aim: Ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract (LIFT) has been proposed as a treatment of trans-sphincteric fistula in perianal Crohn's disease (CD). The aim of this study was to look at our experience of the LIFT procedure in CD patients on long-term follow-up. Specifically, we aimed to determine the fistula healing rate after the LIFT procedure after more than 12 months follow-up and to identify any prognostic factors.
Method: Retrospective study of patients with trans-sphincteric Crohn's fistula tracts treated with the LIFT procedure between January 2011 and October 2015. Complete fistula healing as well as clinical outcomes were analysed.
Results: Data were available for 23 patients. After a median follow-up of 23 months, LIFT site healing was 48%. Patients with healed LIFT had a median follow-up time of 10.5 months, while patients with failed LIFT had a median follow-up time of 31 months (P = 0.04). Median time to failure was 9 months for patients with follow-up > 1 year. Most patients failed within 1 year (9/12; 75%) of the procedure. In multi-site CD, the LIFT procedure was more likely to be successful in those with small bowel disease (P = 0.04) compared with colonic disease (P = 0.02). Other factors such as preoperative use of biological therapies, presence of a seton, previous repair attempts, fistula position, type or number of fistulas, multiple fistula tracts, smoking status and other associated perianal disease did not appear to influence LIFT healing rates.
Conclusion: The LIFT procedure offers reasonable long-term success in the treatment of perianal trans-sphincteric fistulas associated with CD. LIFT is more likely to fail in patients with concurrent colonic CD than in patients with small bowel CD.
Keywords: Crohn's; LIFT; fistula.
Colorectal Disease © 2017 The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland.