Surgical management of perianal fistula using an ovine forestomach matrix implant

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Techniques in coloproctology




Anal fistula; Extracellular matrix; Fistula plug; Ovine forestomach matrix; Perianal fistulas


PURPOSE: Invasive surgical management of cryptoglandular perianal fistulas (PF) is challenging because of high recurrence rates and the potential for injury to the sphincter complex. In the present technical note, we introduce a minimally invasive treatment for PF using a perianal fistula implant (PAFI) comprising ovine forestomach matrix (OFM). METHODS: This retrospective observational case series highlights 14 patients who had undergone a PAFI procedure at a single center between 2020 and 2023. During the procedure, previously deployed setons were removed and tracts were de-epithelialized with curettage. OFM was rehydrated, rolled, passed through the debrided tract, and secured in place at both openings with absorbable suture. Primary outcome was fistula healing at 8 weeks, and secondary outcomes included recurrence or postoperative adverse events. RESULTS: Fourteen patients underwent PAFI using OFM with a mean follow-up period of 37.6 ± 20.1 weeks. In follow-up, 64% (n = 9/14) had complete healing at 8 weeks and all remained healed, except one at last follow-up visit. Two patients underwent a second PAFI procedure and were healed with no recurrence at the last follow-up visit. Of all patients that healed during the study period (n = 11), the median time to healing was 3.6 (IQR 2.9-6.0) weeks. No postprocedural infections nor adverse events were noted. CONCLUSIONS: The minimally invasive OFM-based PAFI technique for PF treatment was demonstrated to be a safe and feasible option for patients with trans-sphincteric PF of cryptoglandular origin.