HOW IS AN ABSCESS TREATED?
The main treatment is to lance, or drain, the abscess. If small, this can be done in the office under local anesthesia. If large, hospitalization may be required and the assistance of an anesthesiologist may be helpful. Antibiotics are a poor alternative to draining an abscess because the antibiotics to not penetrate the fluid within the abscess.
HOW IS A FISTULA TREATED?
Surgery is needed to cure a fistula. The surgery is usually done as an outpatient under anesthesia. It is performed about 6 weeks after the drainage of the abscess to allow a decrease in the inflammation.
Due to the potential for complication, fistula surgery is preferably done by a colon and rectal surgeon. Complications include injury to sphincter muscles and fecal incontinence.
Surgical techniques include opening up the fistula tunnel or filling the tunnel with a specific substance that obliterates the tract.
HOW LONG IS THE RECOVERY?
The recovery is mild to moderate pain for the first week which can be controlled with pain pills. The time lost form work or school is minimal.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF RECURRENCE?
If properly healed, the chance of recurrence is small. However, new abscesses or fistulas may form.
WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID ABSCESSES OR FISTULAS?
Very little. The important issue is to seek a professional opinion when those symptoms arise.