Seton Drainage

Simple drainage involves the insertion of a drainage tube known as a seton through the fistula track. This can stay in place long term but is frequently used for a few weeks only. This allows inflammation to settle, so that curative surgery can be planned. 

What does the operation involve?

The procedure is usually carried out under a short general anaesthetic as a day case. No particular bowel preparation is usually required. The procedure takes around 30 minutes to complete.

Your surgeon will carefully examine your anus and identify the fistula track using small probes. 

The seton drain is then threaded through the track and tied in a loop.

What are the risks? 

There are small risks associated with any operation. Pre-operative assessments are made of any heart or lung conditions, as well as any other coexisting medical condition. During the hospital admission patients wear stockings. If you are staying overnight you may be given tiny injections to prevent thrombosis (blood clots).

Bleeding is very rare in this type of surgery; most patients will notice small amounts of blood draining from the wound. 

You will continue to get discharge around the seton, this is normal.

What happens after the operation?

The procedure is not usually too uncomfortable. You will be seen in clinic afterwards to discuss the next stage.

For advice on looking after your bottom after the procedure please refer to our advice sheet.

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