Fistula surgery, also referred to as a fistulotomy, is a procedure in which an anal fistula is surgically opened and drained, according to Mayo Clinic. Once the infection drains, the opening is stitched shut. Complicated fistulas may require two-phase procedures to prevent damage to the sphincter muscle.
Anal fistulas are tunnels of tissue that develop underneath the skin that connect anal abscesses to infected anal glands, according to the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons. Anal abscesses occur when anal glands become clogged with fecal matter or bacteria. In many cases, anal abscesses drain on their own; however, the fistulas often remain and require additional drainage. Fistula surgery can help to prevent recurring anal abscesses.