What are abscesses and anal fistulas? Abnormal connections between the anal canal and skin-lined structures.

Anal abscesses and fistulas are painful conditions affecting the anal region. An abscess is a localized infection with an accumulation of pus, often resulting from the obstruction of an anal gland. When an abscess doesn’t heal properly, it can develop into an anal fistula, an abnormal tunnel between the infected gland and the skin near the anus. Both conditions can cause considerable discomfort, swelling and drainage. They are usually treated by surgery, which offers relief and prevents the recurrence of infection. Fistulas can also form between the bowel and the bladder or vagina, causing leakage of fecal matter from either organ.

What are the symptoms of abscesses and anal fistulas?

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Drainage of pus or fluid
  • Redness and irritation around the anal area
  • Recurrent infections
  • Fever (in severe cases)

Who do abscesses and anal fistulas affect?

People with conditions such as diverticular disease, Crohn’s disease or cancers of the gastrointestinal tract are more likely to develop fistulas, as these conditions can lead to the formation of tunnels or abnormal passages between the anal canal or rectum and surrounding tissues. In addition, infections, trauma, and certain sexually transmitted infections can also contribute to the development of fistulas. These abnormal connections can result from tissue erosion, inflammation or infection in the area concerned. Surgical treatment is often required to treat and manage fistulas.

If you’re facing the discomfort and challenges of abscesses and anal fistulas, it’s time to find relief. We invite you to seek the empathetic support, personalized diagnostics, and advanced treatment options available at West Island Colorectal Clinic.

Your well-being is our foremost priority!

Dr. Christian Zalai, a dual board-certified colorectal surgeon, explains the complexities of anal fistulas and abscesses, offering expert insights and potential treatment pathways.

How are abscesses and anal fistulas treated?

At our clinic, we offer a diverse range of treatments tailored to meet your unique needs. Our colorectal surgeons will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan.


Surgical procedure to cut and open the abnormal pathway between the anal canal and the skin near the anus. The aim is to promote proper drainage and reduce the risk of recurrent infections.


Ligation of a fistula tract

A procedure that involves tying off or disconnecting the fistula tract to prevent infection from the anus or rectum to the skin.


Endoanal advancement flap

Surgical procedure to create a flap of tissue from the rectum or anal canal to cover the internal fistula opening. This promotes healing by providing healthy, blood-rich tissue.


Surgical drainage

A surgical procedure to make an incision near the abscess and allow the pus to escape, which helps relieve pain and pressure.


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