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Hello. I'm suffering from an anal fistula, going to the rectal surgeon Tuesday. I'm just barely healed from my 3rd perianal abscess, last two times required a wound vac and month off work. Last ER incision, the surgeon (same from last summer) said he could visually see a now on to take care of that, probably a seton...Ive been reading some of the other experiences here and am feeling encouraged. I did quit smoking last year, but still don't have very good diet, change is hard! I hate that I have to tell my boss I'm sick without giving the embarrassing details, just a "lower intestine infection", not to mention my low productivity, not good being a single mom...pretty dreadful. Hopefully this next surgery to remove the fistula will be the last. Has anyone had the seton...and was it successful? How was it??

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Stacy. There are two types of seton; a draining seton and a cutting one. First type just keeps the tract open to allow any internal infection to drain away and hopefully, in time, heal itself. The tract can then be dealt with under surgery. The other type is a seton that is repeatedly tightened and cuts away the fistula over time. This sort can be quite painful.

    i had a draining seton inserted this time last year which remained in place until it fell out in June this year. Since then I have been symptom free and hope to get an all clear when I see my consultant in October.

    There is a really good private Facebook group for Fistula Survivors where you can share your problem with fellow sufferers without any embarrassment. I really recommend it.

    • Posted

      Thank you for replying...I will look for that group. I didn't know there were two types...or that they stayed in place for that long, I guess I thought I'd have an inpatient insert and be done with it, not miss work or anything. I think since I have some pain now and not where my incision is, this fistula is worse than I thought. So going to this new surgeon with a lot of uncertainty...but so thankful I'm able to, I want to feel better. Hope it works out for you when you go back in October, you've had a long go.

  • Posted


    I had a cutting seton that also drained for 18 months but it did not work for me. The only thing that worked was to dramatically improve my diet. Tons of veg for 2-3 months and it finally fell out of me. My surgeon was astounded because he told me he would be operating on me for years to come, but thankfully the extra nutrients helped my body to be able to push the seton out of me naturally the way it was expected to. Many people have setons in for a longtime because they do not want surgery but they do work for some but those I have read about have also improved their diet so I think the two things go hand in hand. I can agree the FB group mentioned above is extremely helpful. Wishing you well.

    • Posted

      Thanks a lot for your note and well wishes...and congrats on being able to change your diet and get this under control - I'm still working on that aspect.  I saw the colorectal surgeon yesterday and he wasn't able to see anything upon exam, so I'm scheduled for an be continued!!  

  • Posted

    Hi! I had an abscess in Sept 2015, I had it drained then they put a wick (packing) in the wound.. It healed too quick on the outside before the inside healed and I had to have the wound made larger so it could be packed every day until it healed. It healed by end of Oct 2015, and was ok,, then last year a tiny hole opened. I stopped eating sugar all was ok but lately the hole opened again I think it's a fistula but don't want surgery. I can feel a tiny tube underneath my scar which I think is the tunnel of the fistula. It drains only occasionly. I don't want the surgery affecting my life, should i leave it alone? I bath all the time I have a little drainge only drainage after being to the bathroom.

    I am 38 and female, it makes me feel dirty and manky, I am scared the surgery will be a botch job from what horror stories I've read. A seton sounds horrific and dirty. 

    I am slim, I ride, cycle, fell walk and conquered many mountains. I don't smoke or drink alcohol. Can't understand why!!!

    • Posted

      Hi Tulip, thanks for sharing - I feel your pain!  I was just thinking on my way up to work today, Ya know I could probably make this go away with a change of diet and not need surgery...but what I hear is that these things don't go away on their own, better to just get rid of it once and for all.  The ER surgeon who's taken care of me the past two summers says not to get glue or anything of the other 50% effective procedures...It'll need to be a seton.  I go for MRI Tuesday, so maybe it'll be gone by then (HA!)  Take care of yourself!!! 

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