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Impact of Preoperative Three-Dimensional Endoanal Ultrasound on the Surgical Outcome of Primary Fistula in Ano. A Multi-Center Observational Study of 253 Patients.

Surgical Innovation 2023 September 31
PURPOSE: To evaluate the impact of preoperative three-dimensional endoanal ultrasound (3D-EAUS) on the clinical outcome of anal fistula surgery.

METHODS: The research consisted of multi-center retrospective case-control study including 253 consecutive adult patients undergoing surgery for confirmed or suspected primary fistula in ano who had undergone preoperative 3D-EAUS evaluation between January 2011 and January 2021. Main outcome measures were the concordance (K value) between ultrasound results and surgery in the identification of fistulas internal openings, primary tracts and secondary extensions and the 6 and 12 months success rate in patients with concordant and discordant findings.

RESULTS: A good agreement in the identification of the main fistulas characteristics between ultrasound results and operative findings was found. A significant difference ( P < .0001; Fisher's exact test) in the success rate was found between patients with concordant and discordant ultrasound results and operative findings in identification or location of internal opening. Particularly, all the 11 (4.8%) patients with discordant results experimented a failure of the surgical procedure at 6 months follow-up. At re-operation, the shift from discordant to concordant results was associated with an 81.8% 12 months success-rate.

CONCLUSION: The three-dimensional endoanal ultrasound preoperative evaluation may have a relevant impact on the outcome of a defined group of patients undergoing surgery for anal fistula, since the careful evaluation of ultrasound results could simplify the internal orifice intra-operative detection and improve the success rate.

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