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What to expect from fistula surgery

My first anal fistula showed up after an abscess I had in 2011. Since then the abscesses seem to keep moving up my left butt cheek to where I've had 4 abscesses now all stemming or connected to the same fistula.

None of mine have never healed up. I am feeling fine otherwise and seem to be in remission bowel-wise. I'm going to talk to the colo-rectal surgeon Thursday to discuss options. I've been afraid of surgery due to possible incontinence and recovery time.

I'm assuming my fistula is a high, complex fistula, which I read usually necessitates a seton. I'm going to ask about a cutting seton. If anyone can share his or her experiences with theirs, I would love to know. How long are you in the hospital, and how long is the recovery time? I enjoy lifting weights, especially squatting which obviously involves your gluteal area, and I'm anxious about not being able to lift for a long time after. I know it may sound strange and possibly vein, but pre-crohn's I was a runner and gave that up once I got sick. I'm finally feeling back in shape again and feel like it helps me not feel like a sick person.

I can deal with that though, just wanting a time frame. More importantly I'm worried about incontinence. How common is it with a cutting seton, and is it not reversible? I'd rather live with the nastiness of the fistula and draining than incontinece, but I'm afraid if I don't do anything more aggressive the fistula tract will keep expanding.

Also, how long after the cutting seton is placed does it take your fistula to heal? How painful is the experience?

Did you have to have much tissue removed? I feel like I have a lot of hard, swollen, discolored tissue around the area, and I'm afraid of having to have a lot of it removed.

I'm obviously going to ask my doctor these questions, but I like to hear personal experiences.


Staff member
If you really want to know i can tell you. I have had multiple surgeries (14 I think) for multiple fistulas, fissures, hemmeroids and perrianal and rectal abscesses including different types of seton's. I was pretty drugged up with morphine and demerol. LOL.
Ask me anything. I have pretty much been through everything but a colostomy. I would love to help you out. When I was sick I never even knew this site existed and I had to find out the hard way.