TREATMENT OF PERIANAL FISTULAS
WITH ND:YAG LASER - RESULTS IN TWENTY CASES.
Ellison GW, Bellah JR, Stubbs WP, Van Gilder J.
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610, USA
Excision of perianal fistulas using a 1.064 micron wavelength neodymium:yttrium aluminum garnet (ND:YAG) contact tipped laser with primary wound closure was used to treat 20 dogs with perianal fistulas. Overall, 19 of 20 (95%) dogs had resolution of fistulas after one or more ND:YAG treatments. The period of resolution ranged from 10 to 42 months with a mean of 22.9 months. Sixteen of 20 (80%) dogs had resolved fistulas after one laser excision. Three of the four recurrences underwent additional laser treatments with successful results. The total number of laser procedures ranged from one to three with a mean of 1.2 procedures. Postoperatively, anal tone as judged by digital rectal examination was reduced in about 60% of the cases, but clinical evidence of fecal incontinence only occurred in four of 20 cases. This was managed effectively with diet modification. The tendency toward loss of anal tone or fecal incontinence depended on the severity of preexisting anal stenosis. On a client survey, 19 of 20 owners believed that their animals experienced less pain during defecation after surgery and rated the results as excellent or good. The overall success rate using ND:YAG laser excision compared very favorably with previously reported studies of other methods of treatment for perianal fistulas in dogs.