Crohn’s Disease ‘Scope Series’: My Painful Fistulotomy

Crohn’s Disease ‘Scope Series’: My Painful Fistulotomy
Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of columns by Mary Horsley about IBD-related procedures. Part one, part two , part three and part four are also available. Continuing with the “Scope Series” theme, this column discusses my experience with my second rectal surgery, a fistulotomy. Unlike my perianal abscess, the fistulotomy was a planned surgery due to my Crohn's disease. After my first surgery in the emergency room, I was scheduled for a follow-up appointment six weeks later. This follow-up would review my rectum's progress in healing and determine the next steps needed. During my emergency surgery for the abscess, a fistula was born with the growing infection. During my follow-up, doctors did the fistulotomy to "try" to prevent another abscess. A fistula can lead to tunneling and infection, occurring once or repeatedly. These forced infection tunnels can push outwards toward the surface, leading to abscesses, bleeding, pain, swelling and fissures. After my perianal abscess, I was told to come back and be prepared for surgery, if necessary, but there was a chance I wouldn't need it. My luck, I needed it. After six weeks of healing the last thing you want is another surgery down there but I had no choice. Anesthesia was already prepped and prepared for the possibility of another surgery, and once I met with all the doctors who would participate in the procedure, I was sent to get in a gown and wheeled into surgery. This meant my surgeon was goi
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