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The risk factors for failure and recurrence of LIFT procedure for fistula in ano.

OBJECTIVES: Fistula in ano (FIA) is a common anorectal problem. There are several techniques that have been used for treatment; however, all of them carry risks of recurrence and incontinence. Ligation intersphincteric fistula tract (LIFT) is a type of treatment with a promising result of preserving the anal sphincter function. This study aimed to evaluate the outcome and risk factor of LIFT failure and to demonstrate the pattern of recurrence. The research funding was supported by Rajavithi Hospital.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: From January 2015 to January 2020, there were 250 cases of fistula in ano operations. A total of 148 patients underwent LIFT operation. The patients' average age was 39.72 ± 10.55 years and the average follow-up period was 111.86 ± 79.73 days. The average time to diagnose the recurrence was 99.12 ± 30.08 days. In addition, average time to perform a surgery after the diganosis was 64.67 ± 25.76 days. The study's analyses used data on age, sex, type of fistula, operative intervention, healing time, reinterventions, and recurrence.

RESULTS: There were 22.97% of recurrence among 148 LIFT patients. Half of the patients who underwent the operation had a preoperative imaging study with MRI or endoanal ultrasonography in the first time due to the complexity of the disease. Factors associated with operation failure were collection, fistula tract size more than 5 millimeters, and the failure of ligating the tract in one attempt.

CONCLUSION: LIFT procedure is one of the several sphincter saving procedures to treat FIA. Recurrence is related with the complexity of the disease. Most of the recurrence is diseases that are easier to treat, such as performing a re-operation or fistulotomy.

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