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Laser Anal Fistula Ablation

Experiencing discomfort, discharge or pain around the anus can be concerning and significantly impact your quality of life. At St John & Elizabeth Hospital, we prioritise your health and comfort by offering advanced treatments like anal fistulotomy. This surgical procedure is designed to treat anal fistulas, a condition that, if left untreated, can lead to severe infections, discomfort and incontinence.

Also known as: surgery for anal fistula

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Everything you need to know

Anal fistula surgery is a surgical procedure aimed at treating anal fistulas – abnormal connections between the epithelialised surface of the anal canal and the perianal skin. This condition often results from an abscess and can cause chronic discharge, pain, and discomfort.

The fistulotomy involves surgically opening the fistula to allow it to heal from the inside out. It’s a precise procedure that requires the skill of experienced colorectal surgeons. Our team uses the latest techniques to ensure the best outcomes with minimal discomfort and recovery time. With the Laser fistula surgery, we aim to achieve fistula closure/healing minimising the risk of sphincter damage and incontinence.


If you are worried about your symptoms or your GP has referred you, get in touch and we will book you in with one of our specialist consultants.

During your initial appointment, your doctor will ask about your symptoms, any test results, and take a detailed medical history. If you have copies of previous test results or treatment plans, please bring these with you. After this, they will talk through your options and let you know whether you should have additional tests. If a laser fistula ablation is recommended, your doctor will explain the procedure thoroughly, including the risks and benefits. We encourage you to ask questions and it may be helpful to write these down beforehand as a reminder.

  • Medical History Review: Share all relevant information about your health, including any existing conditions, allergies, and medications you’re taking.
  • Allergy Check: It’s essential to inform your surgeon about any allergies, particularly to anaesthetics or other medications, to ensure your safety during the surgery.

Your consultant will provide a specific pre-procedure protocol for you to follow.


We aim to provide a comfortable and stress-free experience during your anal fistulotomy.

  • Preparation: On the day of your surgery, you’ll be prepped, which includes the administration of general anaesthesia to ensure you’re comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure.
  • The Surgery: Our skilled surgeons will perform the fistulotomy, precisely addressing the fistula to facilitate effective healing.
  • Post-Procedure Care: After the procedure, the surgical site is carefully closed, and you will be gradually awoken from anaesthesia.


The path to recovery following an anal fistula surgery at St John & Elizabeth Hospital is designed to be as smooth and comfortable as possible. To ensure you experience the most effective healing process, it is imperative to closely follow the specific aftercare instructions provided by your healthcare team.

These guidelines, tailored to your personal recovery needs, include wound care, pain management strategies, and recommendations for gradually resuming daily activities, all aimed at fostering optimal healing and preventing any complications.

Immediate Aftercare

  • Rest: Prioritise rest in the initial days after surgery to promote healing.
  • Pain Management: We will provide you with effective pain management solutions to ensure your comfort during recovery.

How to pay for your treatment

If you’re… paying for yourself

Did you know you don’t need private medical insurance to come to St John & St Elizabeth Hospital? As a self-pay patient, you can access safe, outstanding quality health care at times to suit you.

For scans and tests, as well as to see most consultants, you’ll still need to be referred by a medical professional like your GP, but as a self-pay patient, the process is more straightforward. You won’t need authorisation from an insurance provider, and you’ll have greater choice of consultant and appointment times.

If you’re… insured

St John & St Elizabeth Hospital is approved by all major medical insurance companies. If you have a personal private health insurance policy, or your company provide it for you, you can use it to pay for your care from your initial consultation through to treatment, surgery and aftercare such as physiotherapy. Not all private health insurance plans cover the same things. It’s very important to check exactly what you are covered for with your insurance provider.



Your journey begins with an initial consultation with our colorectal surgery expert.


Treatment Plan

This appointment involves reviewing your medical history, examining the anal area, and possibly referring you for further diagnostic tests (like an MRI or ultrasound). If an anal fistula surgery is considered beneficial, your surgeon will discuss the procedure’s risks, benefits, and recovery expectations with you. Together, you’ll decide if this is the right approach for your condition.


Pre-Treatment Preparations

Optimal preparation is key to a successful outcome. If preparatory steps, such as dietary adjustments or medication management, are necessary, your care team will guide you through them.


Pre-Op Assessment

Should you opt for the procedure, a comprehensive ‘fitness for surgery’ assessment will be conducted to ensure you are fully prepared for the operation.



The fistula surgery allows most patients to begin recovery on the same day, with detailed guidance on managing the post-operative period provided by your surgeon.



Following specific care instructions, including wound care and pain management, is essential post-surgery. Our therapy team will be available to support you through your recovery, offering advice and physical therapy as needed.



A two-week post-operative appointment is scheduled to assess healing and address any concerns. Additional check-ups may be arranged at six weeks, twelve weeks, and six months to monitor your recovery and ensure the best possible outcome.

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