Background: Fistula laser closure (FiLaC) is a novel sphincter-saving technique for the treatment of fistula-in-ano. The aim of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of the FiLaC procedure.
Methods: Databases including PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, and Embase were searched for articles assessing FiLaC. All studies including case series and comparative studies reporting the outcome of FiLaC in the treatment of fistula-in-ano were considered eligible. The main outcomes were healing rates of fistula laser closure, postoperative complications including incontinence, technical aspects of the procedure and failure of healing.
Results: Seven studies were included. There were a total of 454 patients, 69.1% with a transsphincteric fistula-in-ano and 35% with recurrent disease. The median age of the patients was 43 years (range 18-83 years). The median operation time was 18.3 min (range 6-32 min). With a median follow-up of 23.7 months, the weighed mean rate of primary healing was 67.3% and the overall success when FiLaC was reused was 69.7%. The weighted mean rate of complications was 4%, all of them were minor complications and the weighted mean rate of continence affection was 1% in the form of minor soiling.
Conclusions: FiLaC may be considered an effective and safe sphincter-saving technique for the treatment of fistula-in-ano with an acceptable, low, complication rate. However, well-designed randomized control trials comparing FiLaC with other techniques are required to substantiate the promising outcomes reported in this review.
Keywords: Anal fistula; FiLaC; Fistula-in-ano; Laser; Outcome; Perianal fistula.