Fistula with Crohn's, have you had any success with healing?

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/6/2010 3:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I joined this forum to get some advice for my father, who is currently suffering with a high perianal fistula. The surgeon he has seen here locally is afraid to operate on him because of the crohn's disease, but suggested he have it plugged with pig intestine. He told him there was only a 85% success rate if it healed. Has anyone has anyone had any success with this method? I am looking for information on any procedures or medicines that are beneficial with someone in this condition.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1202
   Posted 6/6/2010 5:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I've not tried the plug. I have a Crohnie friend who tried the plug surgery twice - one plug the first, two plugs the second attempt. Both attempts failed. Personally, I am considering the plug, just to try it. She was told to have two weeks bed-rest after the procedure.
1 fistula, crohn's colitis, limited to large intestine
Compounded budesonide 3mg/daily, Cimzia, MTX . Dx Osteoporosis 10/08 started Forteo 1/27/09

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1342
   Posted 6/7/2010 1:03 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't have experience with this treatment. However, I can tell you what healed my fistulas. The first and second time, it was 6 MP and Imuran. However, they both made me feel so horrible that I quit taking them after a year. The third time the fistulas healed was a few months after starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. They've been gone for over a year now.
35 years old, Crohn's disease for 15 of them
Resection of ileocecal valve on 09/22/09
Current Meds: LDN, Pentasa, Effexor XR
Supplements: 3 kinds of Fish Oil, Multi-Vitamin, Vitamin D, Calcium, CoQ10, Enzymes
SCD since 12/01/08 - eating Stage 3 foods

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 6/7/2010 8:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Many with Fistulas have had success with Remicade. I would talk to his doctor about that. Good luck!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease 
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 336
   Posted 6/7/2010 9:48 AM (GMT -6)   
My surgeon said that my perianal fistula was too high as well and that if he did operate on me, he would probably cause a dozen more to appear in the same location. He said that it's a good thing it was draining otherwise he would have to act. I left there thinking I dodged the bullet on what would have been a difficult surgery to heal from. He wrote on his report that it was inoperable and within a week I was on my remicade! I've had two infusions and my fistula has already closed up; there's only a tiny lump left which is slowly fading away. I would go with the Remicade, not Humira because Humira is not known to successfully remove fistulas, according to my GI, not me.
Good luck to your dad!
Diagnosed with typical Crohn's at 16.
Got lucky with Asacol for a year, then even luckier with ten years of relative remission.
Now abscesses and fistulas are having an "atypical" Crohn's party around my junk.
The surgeon said it is inoperable and so I start Remicade on May 7th.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 3129
   Posted 6/7/2010 1:49 PM (GMT -6)   
I did not have the plug. i had a seton placed and it worked well for me but took some time. I was also lucky that not a lot of muscle was involved in my fistula area. I was on flagyl (a very strong antibiotic) before the seton and it was working very well. Unfortunately, I had the side effect of nerve issues and had to stop, but it was working very well up until we found the side effect.
Dx'd '90 (emergency rupture), symptoms ignored long before that, '03 fistulas and bad flagyl reactions, B12 weekly, Pentasa, cholestyramine, iron and vitamin supplements. 
Prepare for the future, but live in the present

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 6/7/2010 10:55 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had a lot of success with seton placement. I had a peri-anal abscess which got very very septic before it was operated on (this was because I had a negligent GI) – I located a fantastic colo-rectal surgeon who placed the seton into the abscess/fistula. It ‘laid open’ the fistula tunnel, so that there was an open wound (very large and very painful). It took a long time to heal because I had to wait 3 months to be eligible for Remicade. However once I started the Remicade, the fistula and abscess wound began healing rapidly. It was a very slow process to heal, I am 24 and was working fulltime then too, so it was difficult because I could barely walk and sitting down was impossible, I had to lie on my side. However the seton was a dream come true (even if it looked and felt scary at first) – I had to wear drainage pads for a good 6 months afterwards, but luckily it has (touch wood) solved the problem. The Remicade combined with the seton saved me and I am oh-so-grateful. I hope your dad gets some relief soon!

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 6/8/2010 9:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Ive had fistula's on and off for 20 years or so. When I was younger I would be put on flagyl and do sitz baths in about 2 weeks it was gone. This happened a couple times I did the same thing then it left and didnt come back for about 10 years. Then all of a sudden it came back with a vengeance. I had to go to the hospital and have it drained and it was really deep. It took about a year and a half to heal. (Cause it heals from the inside out.) very, very painful. Thats been going on for about 8years. I was on flagyl , then a new primary boost it up 500 mg. more Circulation, numbing and tingling and shooting pains started happening so I had to go back down on it. The shooting pains in my feet left but the tingling stayed. Eventually it lead to my hands so I was put on Humira and stopped Flagyl. Its been a little over a year and this last month it has not come back. I never had the septon procedure done I did'nt know about it until now. So Im sorry i cant comment on that. I dont know if this helps any but i guess i would suggest ramicaid or humira before i would do any surgery. Much luck to your father. wink

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/14/2010 8:34 PM (GMT -6)   
You are def not alone! I had a fistula between the vag/rec and it was ruining my life for 4 years (2 failed surgerys and 5 misscarriages) Until I was finally put on Remicade. It took 4 doses for my fistula to completly disappear and I actually got pregant! Remicade is my miracle. Fistulas usually fail with surgery since its a immune system problem it will never go away or stop devloping new one until he gets his CD under control.

Aimee =)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2004
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 6/14/2010 8:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Remicade healed all of mine - but after I had to switch off Remicade, I developed new ones. They removed them surgically when I had my resection a few months ago.

Has your dad considered Remicade?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 2527
   Posted 6/15/2010 1:22 AM (GMT -6)   
I had an enterocutaneous fistula (came thru my belly button area) After all different measures surgery was what fixed mine
Dx with Crohn's 1987, symptoms as early as 1984.
Temp iliostomy February 2007, reversed June 2007, Ovarian cysts, migraines, allergies (incl food allergies) , oral allergy syndrome (diff than true food allergies), Asthma, Gall Bladder removed 1999, Inguenal hernia 1987

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