Ann Coloproctol.  2021 Feb;37(1):51-57. 10.3393/ac.2020.08.26.1.

Puborectalis Muscle Involvement on Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Complex Fistula: A New Perspective on Diagnosis and Treatment

  • 1Department of Surgery, Seoul Song Do Hospital, Seoul, Korea


According to recent studies, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) assessment of complex fistulas provides a significant benefit compared to fistulography, computed tomography, and ultrasonography. The aim of this study was to describe the accuracy of MRI and the importance of identifying puborectalis muscle involvement on MRI in patients with complex fistula.
All patients who were clinically diagnosed with ‘complex’ or showed multiple fistula tracts underwent fistula MRI. Eligible patients were consecutive patients who underwent fistula MRI between September 2018 and September 2019 at our hospital.
A total of 83 patients (74 males, 9 females; 116 tracts) were included in this study. The sensitivity and specificity of MRI in diagnosing fistula tracts were 94.8% and 98.2%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity in identifying internal opening were 93.9% and 97.3%, respectively. Of the 35 patients with puborectalis muscle involvement in the MRI, 31 images of suprasphincteric-type patients on the Park’s classification were classified. The patients of puborectalis involvement were divided into 2 groups according to the surgical procedure that was performed. There were 12 sphincter-saving procedures and 19 sphincter division procedures performed. Recurrence was seen in 2 patients in the sphincter-saving procedure group, while no case was seen in the sphincter division procedure group. Five complications were found in the sphincter division procedure group, of which 2 reported incontinence.
Fistula MRI is a highly accurate examination for evaluating complex fistulas, and the puborectalis muscle involvement findings are very important for diagnosis and treatment.


Complex fistula; Fistula magnetic resonance imaging; Puborectalis muscle involvement
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