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Fistulas do not show on CT Scan?

Originally dx'd with UC, changed to Crohn's last December.

I have had a fistula from my colon to my vagina for almost 3 yrs. After having a CT Scan to determine it's location, my then GI, refused to believe the fistula existed because it was not found by the CT. This was not a maybe thing, trust me. The things coming thru this fistula made it plain. An MRI done one year ago also failed to find this fistula (though it did show another one with an abscess).

I have been on REMICADE since last December but the original fistula continues to act like an extra rectum:eek2: Now I am suspicious that a fistula has formed to my bladder or urinary tract. A recent CT Scan (with contrast) did not find any fistula to that area. Also extensive blood work did not show an infection and indicated that my inflammation had gone way done. My GI tells me I am in remission but I am not felling at all well with diarrhea, extreme exhaustion and abdominal pain.

What is the most conclusive test to find a fistula? How serious would a fistula to your bladder be?


An MRI should pick it up, it is very sensitive to bodily structures and formations. Perhaps your fistula healed on Remicade? I think if you had a connection to your bladder you would likely have a big infection.
There are other tests you can have, in my case they put a probe in the rectum and it was the only way they found the fistula. I think it was a rectal scan, but the fistula was ano-vaginal. MRI and CT did NOT pick it up. However, I had no treatment and it has disappeared. Keep demanding tests, and good luck.
I had a fistula that connected two parts of my small bowel together, where there should not be a connection. This fistula never did show on a CT scan. It was found by doing a flouroscopy scan. This scan you drink the barium and then every fifteen minutes they take a scan to see where the barium has gone. I was told this would take several hours, but I was done in 15 minutes. The scan showed it bypassed almost all of the small bowel and headed straight into the colon. I had it surgically repaired as I also had a mass the needed to be removed. The fistula was never found on any of my CT scans and my surgeon told me that it was obvious to him the fistula was there for a while.
I was successfully treated with proton therapy for prostate cancer. Unfortunately six months afterwards I developed and inflamed colon with an ulcer too. The consultant I saw did nothing except send me for a colonoscopy first then after 3 months a sigmoidoscopy I had another 2 sigmoidoscopies. After one year I had severe abdo pain and collapsed. It turned out I had two abscesses, probably caused by a fistula as a result of one ot the sigmoidoscopy being poorly done. I had major surgery to remove the abscesses and a reversible colostomy to help heal the rectal ulcer. Four months on I’m improving but I wonder if anyone has had the same xperience with hospital caused fistula.
Also, will a healed fistula leave sufficient scarring to show up on a MRI scan?
I would appreciate any info on this topic,


Staff member
If it doesn't show up on an MRI I would be surprised. I could see 3D detail of fistula tracts when mine was done. Scar tissue should show up, there would be some remaining after a significant fistula.


Staff member
My fistula,(the first one) was technically caused by the hospital, however it was a risk that was explained to me. My initial rectal abscess was drained from the inside in emergency surgery. It came back so they tried draining from the outside, after that I had trouble with fistulas for a while. Everything is healed now though. I hope you feel better soon, it can get better.