Video-Assisted Anal Fistula Treatment (VAAFT) in Cryptoglandular fistula-in-ano: A systematic review and proportional meta-analysis

Int J Surg. 2017 Oct:46:85-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2017.08.582. Epub 2017 Sep 4.


Background: Video-Assisted Anal Fistula Treatment (VAAFT) is a relatively new minimally invasive videoendoscopic procedure for treating fistula-in-ano. We reviewed and performed metaanalysis to evaluate the efficacy of this procedure.

Methods: Studies from the period 2010 to 2016 were searched in PubMed, Medline, Scopus, Embase, Ovid, SCI database, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) & Google Scholar database. All studies which utilized VAAFT to treat fistula-in-ano were extracted. The studies in which the Cryptoglandular fistula were treated were included. Procedure's done in patients with Crohn's disease, pediatric patients and associated malignancy were excluded from the study. The primary outcome parameter was success rate in fistula healing and the secondary outcome parameters were operating time, hospital stay, return to work, incontinence rate and complication rate.

Results: A total of 1378 studies were screened. Out of these, eight studies were finally included for meta-analysis. The analysis (n = 786) demonstrated a net Proportion Meta-analysis pooled rate of 76.01% (95% CI = 68.1 to 83.9) for success rate, 16.2% (95% CI = 12.1 to 20.2) for complications, 44.7 min (95% CI = 38.3 to 51.2) for operating time, 1-4.1 days for mean hospital stay and 1-11 days for return to work. None of the studies reported worsening of continence levels.

Conclusions: VAAFT is a safe videoendoscopic method to treat fistula-in-ano with an overall success rate of 76% (net Proportion Meta-analysis pooled rate). The main benefit of the procedure is minimal risk to incontinence, minimal hospital stay and early return to work.

Keywords: Fistula-in-ano; Incontinence; Metaanlysis; Review; Video.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Operative Time
  • Rectal Fistula / surgery*
  • Video-Assisted Surgery / methods*