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1.  The Anal Fistula Plug versus the mucosal advancement flap for the treatment of Anorectal Fistula (PLUG trial) 
BMC Surgery  2008;8:11.
Background
Low transsphincteric fistulas less than 1/3 of the sphincter complex are easy to treat by fistulotomy with a high success rate. High transsphincteric fistulas remain a surgical challenge. Various surgical procedures are available, but recurrence rates of these techniques are disappointingly high. The mucosal flap advancement is considered the gold standard for the treatment of high perianal fistula of cryptoglandular origin by most colorectal surgeons. In the literature a recurrence rate between 0 and 63% is reported for the mucosal flap advancement. Recently Armstrong and colleagues reported on a new biologic anal fistula plug, a bioabsorbable xenograft made of lyophilized porcine intestinal submucosa. Their prospective series of 15 patients with high perianal fistula treated with the anal fistula plug showed promising results.
The anal fistula plug trial is designed to compare the anal fistula plug with the mucosal flap advancement in the treatment of high perianal fistula in terms of success rate, continence, postoperative pain, and quality of life.
Methods/design
The PLUG trial is a randomized controlled multicenter trial. Sixty patients with high perianal fistulas of cryptoglandular origin will be randomized to either the fistula plug or the mucosal advancement flap. Study parameters will be anorectal fistula closure-rate, continence, post-operative pain, and quality of life. Patients will be followed-up at two weeks, four weeks, and 16 weeks. At the final follow-up closure rate is determined by clinical examination by a surgeon blinded for the intervention.
Discussion
Before broadly implementing the anal fistula plug results of randomized trials using the plug should be awaited. This randomized controlled trial comparing the anal fistula plug and the mucosal advancement flap should provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of the anal fistula plug in the treatment of high perianal fistulas.
Trial registration
ISRCTN: 97376902
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-11
PMCID: PMC2467399  PMID: 18573198
2.  Fibrin glue and transanal rectal advancement flap for high transsphincteric perianal fistulas; is there any advantage? 
Backgrounds and aim
In recent decades, fibrin glue has appeared as an alternative treatment for high perianal fistulas. Early results seemed promising, with high success rates being reported. However, with increasing follow-up, the enthusiasm was tempered because of disappointing results. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the additional value of fibrin glue in combination with transanal advancement flap, compared to advancement flap alone, for the treatment of high transsphincteric fistulas of cryptoglandular origin.
Materials and methods
Between January 1995 and January 2006, 127 patients were operated for high perianal fistulas with an advancement flap. After exclusion of patients with inflammatory bowel disease or HIV, 80 patients remained. A consecutive series of 26 patients had an advancement flap combined with obliteration of the fistula tract with fibrin glue. Patients were matched for prior fistula surgery, and the advancement was performed identically in all patients. In the fibrin glue group, glue was installed retrogradely in the fistula tract after the advancement was completed and the fistula tract had been curetted.
Results
Minimal follow-up after surgery was 13 months [median of 67 months (range, 13–127)]. The overall recurrence rate was 26% (n = 21). Recurrence rates for advancement flap alone vs the combination with glue were 13% vs 56% (p = 0.014) in the group without previous fistula surgery and 23% vs 41% (p = 0.216) in the group with previous fistula surgery.
Conclusion
Obliterating the fistula tract with fibrin glue was associated with worse outcome after rectal advancement flap for high perianal fistulas.
doi:10.1007/s00384-008-0460-x
PMCID: PMC2386753  PMID: 18322659
Rectal fistula; Surgery; Recurrence; Fibrin glue; Advancement

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