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A Tale of Two (Anal Fistula) Plugs: Is there a Difference in Short-Term Outcomes?

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Treatment of complex anal fistulas presents an ongoing challenge to colorectal surgeons. The anal fistula plug is an attractive definitive option due to its minimal risk of incontinence, simple design, and easy application. Our objective was to compare the Cook Surgisis┬« AFP™ plug and the newer Gore Bio-A┬« plug in the management of complex anal fistulas. A retrospective chart review of patients treated with Cook and Gore fistula plugs between August 2007 and December 2009 was performed. Success was defined as closure of all external openings and absence of drainage and abscess formation. Twelve Cook patients underwent 16 plug insertions and 10 Gore patients underwent 11 plug insertions. The overall procedural success rate in the Gore group was 54.5 per cent (6 of 11) versus 12.5 per cent (2 of 16) in the Cook group. The reasons for failure were unknown in the majority of patients and plug dislodgement in two patients. Our short-term results with the Gore fistula plug suggest a higher procedural success rate in comparison to the Cook plug. Patients should be cautioned regarding potentially high failure rates; however, longer follow-up and a larger patient population are needed to confirm significant differences in fistula plug efficacy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of California-Irvine Medical Center, Orange, California, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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