How is Anal Fistula Investigated?

When you are seen in clinic the consultant will take a full history and carry out a clinical examination. Usually this will involve a rigid sigmoidoscopy and sometimes a proctoscopy as well.
Often if the consultant is able to find the inner and outer openings of the fistula and no special investigations will be required.
If it is not possible to find the fistula or if the problem is longstanding or recurrent, an MRI scan  or endoanal ultrasound scan will be recommended.
Sometimes the area may be too uncomfortable to examine then the consultant may recommend carrying out an examination under anaesthetic to confirm the diagnosis, and if possible the fistula can start to be treated at the same time.

If you are over the age of 40 and have had any bleeding or change in bowel habit the consultant may recommend endoscopic examination of the bowel either by flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to ensure that it is otherwise healthy, alongside treating the fistula.

What are the next steps?
If you think you have this condition or any of these symptoms
you will need to seek medical advice.
For more information or to make an appointment.
Contact birmingham bowel clinic on 0845 241 7762
or email
If you have private medical care or wish
to pay to see a consultant.
Take this factsheet along to your own
GP and request a referral to one
of our consultants
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What our patients think...
When I met with Mr Radley at my outpatient appointment I felt reassured by him. ”
University Professor, Birmingham. Anal Fissure. January 2017