VAAFT (Video Assisted Anal Fistula Treatment)

Rectal Clinic

VAAFT is a minimally invasive procedure where your consultant uses a fistuloscope to help with the assessment of your anal fistula.

How is the VAAFT procedure carried out?

The operation has two stages.  The first is a diagnostic stage where the fistula is assessed, and the second is a treatment stage, both carried out during the same operation.  

During the treatment stage, the fistula track is cleaned out and the lining of the fistula track is cauterised with the intention of prompting healing.  Your consultant can treat any secondary branches or extensions of the anal fistula in a similar way.  

In most cases, during the initial stage of treatment your consultant will use a draining seton suture to adequately control any infection associated with the fistula track. 

With complex disease, patients may need more than one operation.

What happens post my VAAFT surgery?

Although VAAFT is performed under general anaesthetic, your consultant will instil local anaesthetic during the procedure. This is to minimize your post-operative pain and by the time this wears off your pain level will be very minimal requiring just painkillers for a day or two.

If a seton is inserted, a length of suture material within the fistula track will be present. This should be left in place until your follow up appointment with your consultant. 

In a more complex setting, your wounds are left open to drain the abscess. These wounds are packed and the packing must be on as directed by your consultant.

Wound care

Post your operation, we advise you to keep your wound clean. This can be done by washing the area, either in the shower or bath, once or twice a day. 

After your wound packing is removed you will be recommended to gently clean the wound while in the bath or the shower using your hand, and apply a simple absorbent dressing over the wounds.

If you do notice any changes in the site or a wound infection, please contact the clinic team to get this assessed.

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