PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of gracilis muscle transposition for recurrent rectovaginal fistula.
METHODS: Gracilis muscle transposition for recurrent rectovaginal fistula was performed in eight patients. Causes of fistulas included Crohn's disease (n = 5), perineal surgery (n = 2), and obstetrical injury (n = 1). All patients underwent a mean of three (range, 1-6) previous repairs. Fecal diversion was performed in all cases.
RESULTS: Six of eight patients (75%) healed after gracilis muscle transposition alone. The other two patients required a second gracilis. These two patients failed with another recurrence and one of them underwent laparotomy with successful omental interposition. Thus, after a median follow-up of 28 (range, 4-55) months, the per-gracilis muscle transposition healing rate was 60% (6/10) and the overall healing success rate after gracilis muscle transposition and other procedures was 88% (7/8). For patients with Crohn's disease, four of five (80%) presented no recurrent rectovaginal fistula. Seven of eight patients underwent ileostomy closure after gracilis, but two required subsequent stomas, one for a late recurrence. Overall, five of eight patients are stoma-free. Despite healing, postoperative quality of life and sexual activity remained significantly altered.
CONCLUSION: Gracilis muscle transposition can be proposed in cases of recurrent rectovaginal fistula. The procedure has a good success rate, especially in Crohn's disease patients.