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A 74-year-old member asked:

How invasive is surgery or for a gastrointestinal fistula?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gregory Hines
Family Medicine 24 years experience
Invasive: It is major abdominal surgery. Generally it is done laparoscopically or as an open procedure, and can be very invasive.
Dr. Elie Schochet
Colon and Rectal Surgery 18 years experience
It varies: A fistula is a communication between the bowel and another surface, can be skin or another organ. It really depends on the underlying disease process. They are often seen in crohn's diesease, cancer, post-surgical complications and many states in which the patient is immunocompromised and sick and/or on steroid which can make any surgery more complicated.

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Similar questions

A 21-year-old member asked:

Is surgery always necessary to remove a gastrointestinal fistula?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Zadeh
General Surgery 17 years experience
Not Always: Gastrointestinal fistulas are treated according to the organs involved and the output of the fistula. Fistulas between the colon or small intestine and colon can be left alone as long as they are not causing infection or malabsorption. Fistulas from the intestine to the skin are classified as high output (>500 ml/day) or low output (<500ml/day). Low output fistulas generally close without surgery.

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Last updated Dec 25, 2014
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