A fistula is an abnormal connection between two body parts, such as an organ or blood vessel and another structure. Fistulas are usually the result of an injury or surgery. Infection or inflammation can also cause a fistula to form.
Fistulas may occur in many parts of the body. They can form between:
Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease, can lead to fistulas between one loop of intestine and another. Injury can cause fistulas to form between arteries and veins.
Types of fistulas include:
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Lentz GM, Krane M. Anal incontinence: diagnosis and management. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 22.
Taber's Medical Dictionary Online website. Fistula. In: Venes D, ed. 23rd ed. Taber's Online. F.A. Davis Company, 2017. www.tabers.com/tabersonline/view/Tabers-Dictionary/759338/all/fistula.
Review Date: 9/16/2019
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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