Blue Cross of Idaho Logo

Express Sign-on

Thank you for registering with Blue Cross of Idaho

If you are an Individual or Family Member, please register here.

If you are a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement member, please register here.


MP 7.01.123 Plugs for Fistula Repair

Medical Policy    
Original Policy Date
Last Review Status/Date
Reviewed with literature search/9:2014
  Return to Medical Policy Index


Our medical policies are designed for informational purposes only and are not an authorization, or an explanation of benefits, or a contract. Receipt of benefits is subject to satisfaction of all terms and conditions of the coverage. Medical technology is constantly changing, and we reserve the right to review and update our policies periodically.


An anal fistula is an abnormal communication between the interior of the anal canal or rectum and the skin surface. Rarer forms may communicate with the vagina or other pelvic structures, including the bowel. Most fistulas begin as anorectal abscesses, which are thought to arise from infection in the glands around the anal canal. When the abscess opens spontaneously into the anal canal (or has been opened surgically), a fistula may occur. Studies have reported that 26% to 37% of cases of perianal abscesses eventually form anal fistulas.(1)

Other causes of fistulas include tuberculosis, cancer, prior radiotherapy, and inflammatory bowel disease. Fistulas may occur singly or in multiples. Symptoms include a purulent discharge and drainage of pus and/or stool near the anus, which can irritate the outer tissues causing itching and discomfort. Pain occurs when fistulas become blocked and abscesses recur. Flatus may also escape from the fistulous tract.

The most widely used classification of anal fistulas is the Parks’ classification system, which defines anal fistulas by their position relative to the anal sphincter as trans-sphincteric, intersphincteric, suprasphincteric, or extrasphincteric. More simply, anal fistulas are described as low (present distally and not extending up to the anorectal sling) or high (extending up to or beyond the anorectal sling). The repair of high fistulas can be associated with incontinence. Diagnosis may involve a fistula probe, anoscopy, fistulography, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging.

Fistula Repair

Treatment is aimed at repairing the fistula without compromising continence.

Surgical treatments for anal fistulas include fistulotomy/ fistulectomy, endorectal/anal sliding flaps, ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract (LIFT) technique, seton drain, and fibrin glue. Fistulotomy involves division of the tissue over the fistula and laying open of the fistula tract. Although fistulotomies are widely used for low fistulas, lay-open fistulotomies in high fistulas carries the risk of incontinence. A seton is a
thread placed through the fistula tract for the purpose of draining fistula material and preventing the development of a perianal infection. Draining setons can control sepsis, but few patients heal after removal of the seton, and the procedure is poorly tolerated long-term. A “cutting seton” refers to the process of regular tightening of the seton to encourage gradual cutting of the sphincteric muscle with subsequent inflammation and fibrosis. Cutting setons can cause continence disturbances. Endorectal advancement flaps involve the advancement of a full or partial thickness flap of the proximal rectal wall over the internal (rectal) opening of the fistula tract. The LIFT technique involves identifying the intersphincteric plane and then dividing the fistula tract; its use has been reported in small studies, but long-term follow-up is unavailable.(2) Fibrin glue is a combination of fibrinogen, thrombin, and calcium in a matrix, which is injected into the fistula track. The glue induces clot formation within the tract, which is then closed through overgrowth of new tissue.

Fistula Plugs

Fistula plugs are designed to provide a structure that acts as a scaffold for new tissue growth. The scaffold, which can be derived from animal (eg, porcine) tissue or a synthetic copolymer fiber, is degraded by hydrolytic or enzymatic pathways as healing progresses. The plug is pulled through the fistula tract and secured at the fistula’s proximal opening; the fistula tract is left open at the distal opening to allow drainage.

Regulatory Status

Table 1. Devices for Anal Fistula Repair





Predicate Device(s)

FDA Product Code

SIS Fistula Plug (Cook Biotech Inc.)

Mar 2005

Manufactured from porcine SIS

Repair of anal,  rectal, and enterocutaneous fistulas

  • SURGISIS® Soft Tissue Graft (Cook Biotech Inc.)
  • STRATASIS® Urethral Sling (Cook Biotech Inc.)


Surgisis RVP Recto-Vaginal Fistula Plug (Cook Biotech Inc.)

Oct 2006

  • Manufactured from porcine SIS
  • Tapered configuration with a button to provide increased plug retention and improved blockage of the fistula

Reinforce soft tissue for the repair of rectovaginal fistulas

SIS Fistula Plug (Cook Biotech Inc.)


Surgisis Biodesign Enterocutaneous Fistula Plug (Cook Biotech, Inc.)

Mar 2009

  • Manufactured from porcine SIS
  • Tapered configuration with a flange to provide increased retention of the plug and improved blockage of the fistula

Reinforce soft tissue for the repair of enterocutaneous fistulas

SIS Fistula Plug (Cook Biotech Inc.)


Gore Bio-A Fistula Plug (W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.)

Mar 2009

  • Manufactured from bioabsorbablepolyglucolide- cotrimethylene carbonate (PGA:TMC) copolymer
  • Supplied in a 3- dimensional configuration of a disk with attached tubes

Reinforce soft tissue for the repair of anorectal fistulas

  • Gore Bioabsorbable Mesh (W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.)
  • SIS Fistula Plug (Cook Biotech Inc.)


FDA: Food and Drug Administration; SIS: small intestinal submucosa.


Biosynthetic fistula plugs, including plugs made of porcine small intestine submucosa or of synthetic material, are considered investigational for all indications including, but not limited to, repair of anal and rectal fistulas.

Policy Guidelines

There is a specific CPT code for use of these plugs in repair of an anorectal fistula:

46707: Repair of anorectal fistula with plug (e.g., porcine small intestine mucosa [SIS])

Benefit Application

BlueCard/National Account Issues

State or federal mandates (e.g., FEP) may dictate that all FDA-approved devices may not be considered investigational and, thus, these devices may be assessed only on the basis of their medical necessity.


This policy was created in 2009 and regularly updated with searches of the MEDLINE database. The most recent literature review was performed for the period through July 30, 2014.

Conventional treatments for anal fistulas include fistulotomy/fistulectomy, endorectal/anal sliding flaps, seton drains, and fibrin glue. Evidence for new treatments must allow comparison with conventional treatment on outcomes including safety, healing, fistula recurrence, and sphincter function.

There are limited published prospective, comparative data on outcomes of anal fistula plug (AFP) procedures. Searches of the MEDLINE database found 2 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and several prospective case series and retrospective comparative studies.

Systematic Reviews

At least 6 systematic reviews have been undertaken on AFP. In 2013, Cirocchi et al published results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that compared biologically derived products for fistula repair, including fibrin glue, AFPs, and acellular dermal matrix, with surgical therapy for fistula repair.(3) Seven studies were considered eligible for their evidence review, 4 of which included comparisons of AFPs with surgery, and 2 of which were RCTs (Ortiz 2009 and van Koperen 2011, described next). In combined analysis, AFP placement was not significantly different than surgical treatment in terms of rates of healing (pooled risk ratio [RR], 1.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51 to 2.76). Recurrence of anal fistulas was not significantly different between patients treated with AFP compared with those treated with surgery, although the confidence interval for the pooled analysis was very wide (pooled odds ratio [OR], 3.12; 95% CI, 0.52 to 18.83).

In 2012, 3 reviews were published comparing AFP with conventional surgical treatment for anal fistulas.(4-6) Pu et al undertook a meta-analysis of 5 studies (2 RCTs, 3 retrospective studies) published through April 2012. Treatment options in the conventional arm of this review included endorectal/mucosal advancement flaps, fibrin glue, and seton drains.(4) The 2 RCTs included in this analysis (Ortiz, 2009; van
Koperen, 2011) are discussed next under RCTs. On combined analysis, AFP patients had a higher recurrence rate (62%) compared with those undergoing conventional treatment options (47%) after 3 months of follow-up (5 studies, 428 patients; p=0.004, OR=1.91; 95% CI, 1.23 to 2.97).

Leng and Jin undertook a meta-analysis of 6 studies published through April 2011 (3 RCTs, 2 retrospective studies, 1 cohort study) involving 408 patients comparing AFP with mucosal advancement flap (MAF).(5) Two of the RCTs in this analysis were included in the review by Pu et al previously described; the third RCT was a Chinese trial of 90 patients comparing AFP (manufactured in China and similar in design to the SURGISIS®) with the MAF. On combined analysis, the differences in the overall success rates (6 studies) and incidence of fistula recurrence (4 studies including 3 RCTs) were not statistically significant between the AFP and MAF (risk difference [RD], -0.12; 95% CI, -0.39 to 0.14; RD=0.13; 95% CI, -0.18 to 0.43, respectively).(5) The risk of continence postoperatively (3 studies including 2 RCTs), however, was reported to be lower with AFP (RD= -0.08; 95% CI, 0.15 to -0.02). In addition to the small numbers of controlled studies and limited follow-up, the findings of this meta-analysis were further limited by significant heterogeneity across studies.(5)

O’Riordan et al undertook a systematic review of AFP (20 studies including 2 RCTs by Ortiz and van Koperan) for patients with Crohn and non-Crohn-related anal fistulas.(6) The follow-up period across studies ranged from 3 months to 24.5 months. The pooled proportion of patients achieving fistula closure in patients with non-Crohn anal fistula was 0.54 (95% CI, 0.50 to 0.59). The proportion achieving closure in patients with Crohn disease was similar (0.55; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.70).(6) There were no reported cases of any significant change in continence after AFP insertion in any of the study patients (n=196). The findings of this systematic review are limited by the variability of operative technique and perioperative care across studies, which may influence the probability of success or failure associated with the AFP.(6)

A 2010 systematic review reports a wide range of success rates.(7) In the 12 case series included in the review, reported success rates for the AFP procedure ranged from 24% to 92%. Success rates in treating complex fistula-in-ano in the 8 prospective studies reviewed were 35% to 87%. The complications of abscess formation and/or sepsis ranged from 4% to 29%, and plug extrusion ranged from 4% to 41%.

In a Cochrane review of surgical intervention for anorectal fistula, Jacob et al found few randomized trials comparing procedures for surgical repair.(8) Anal fistula plug was one procedure noted as needing further study with randomized trials.

Section Summary

Several systematic reviews of studies of AFP repair of anal fistulas demonstrate a wide range of success rates and heterogeneity in study results. The net benefit of a strategy using AFP compared with open surgical repair is a lack of high-quality trials and uncertainty related to the tradeoff between a less invasive procedure and a higher fistula reoccurrence rate.

Randomized controlled trials

Ortiz et al, compared use of porcine submucosal (Surgisis) AFP with an endorectal anal flap (ERAF) procedure in an RCT with 43 patients with high anal fistula.(9) The primary end point was fistula healing. Recurrence was defined as the presence of an abscess in the same area or obvious evidence of fistulization. Five patients in the AFP group and 6 in the ERAF group did not receive the allocated intervention, leaving 32 patients. One patient in the AFP group was lost to follow-up. A large number of recurrences in the fistula plug group led to premature closure of the trial. After 1 year, fistula recurrence was seen in 12 of 15 patients treated with an AFP versus 2 of 16 patients who underwent the flap procedure (relative risk [RR], 6.40; 95% CI, 1.70 to 23.97; p<0.001). Fistulas recurred in 9 of 16 patients who had previously undergone fistula surgery; 8 of the 9 patients had an AFP. A trend for more sphincter involvement and more females in the ERAF group was noted. Complications were not reported in this article.

Van Koperen et al reported on a double-blinded, multicenter, randomized trial comparing AFP with mucosal advancement flap in 60 patients with high perianal fistulas.(10) At 11-month follow-up, the authors reported fistula recurrence in 22 patients (71%) in the AFP group and 15 patients (52%) in the advancement flap group; these rates were not significantly different (p=0.126). Postoperative pain scores, quality of life after surgery and functional outcomes were not significantly different between groups. Despite disappointing results, the authors indicated the plug might be considered as an initial treatment option because the plug procedure is simple and minimally invasive.

Section Summary

Two relatively small RCTs have compared AFP with surgical flap treatment for anal fistulas, one of which reported significantly higher rates of fistula reoccurrence with AFP and one of which found similar rates of reoccurrence between AFP and surgical treatment. Larger RCTs are needed, with longer follow-up, to determine comparative efficacy of AFPs compared with surgical repair.

Non-randomized comparative studies

Hyman et al reported on prospective, multicenter registry outcomes data to compare a variety of procedures to treat anal fistulas in 245 patients at 13 hospitals.(11) Data were collected as part of a prospective, multicenter outcomes registry created by colorectal surgeons in parts of New England.

Fistulotomy was the most frequently performed procedure (n=120) followed by fistula plug (n=43), staged fistulotomy (n=36), seton drain only (n=21), cutting seton (n=13), fibrin glue (n=5), and advancement flap (n=4). Three other patients were listed as other or unrecorded. At 1 month and 3 months, 19.5% and 63.2% of patients were healed, respectively. At 3 months, 32% of fistula plug patients were healed in
comparison to 87% of fistulotomy, 50% of staged fistulotomy, and 5% of seton drain-only patients. The authors noted limitations to this registry-based study including concerns about data entry, lack of standardized surgical procedures, and heterogeneity of patients. The 3-month results may also indicate longer healing times may be needed.

Christoforidis et al performed a retrospective analysis of patients from a U.S. center with transsphincteric fistulas treated with ERAF (n=43) or anal plug (Surgisis) (n=37) between January 1996 and April 2007.(12) Success was defined as closed external opening in absence of symptoms at minimal follow-up of 6 months. The success rate was 63% in the ERAF group and 32% in the in AFP group after a mean follow-up of 56 (range, 6-136) months for ERAF and 14 (range, 6-22) months for AFP. After exclusion of patients with early AFP extrusion, which may be considered a technical failure, the ERAF advantage did not meet statistical significance (p=0.06). Twenty-three of 27 patients who had ERAF and 7 of 12 patients who had AFP responded to a questionnaire addressing functional outcomes. In the ERAF group, 11 of 23 patients had no continence disturbance versus 6 of 7 in the AFP group. The lack of prospectively collected incontinence scores before the procedure and low response rate in the AFP group prohibit valid comparisons on functional outcomes. Complication rates were low in both groups; 2 patients in  the ERAF group required reoperation for bleeding. No serious complications occurred in the AFP group. The authors conclude that “randomized trials are needed to further elucidate the efficacy and potential functional benefit of AFP in the treatment of complex anal fistulas.”

Wang et al compared outcomes of all patients with transsphincteric fistulas treated with AFP from July 2005 to December 2006 (n=29) and compared them with historical controls treated with ERAF (2001-2005) (n=26).(13) Of 26 initial flap procedures, 10 failed and 16 healed. Of 29 initial plug procedures, 19 failed and 10 healed. In total, 30 advancement flaps and 34 plug procedures were performed (including the additional treatments for failed initial procedures). Closure rates were 34% for plugs (mean follow-up, 279 days; range, 110-690) and 62% for flaps (median follow-up, 819 days; range, 93-1928; p=0.045). Complications were not reported. The authors conclude that a systematic randomized trial with long-term follow-up comparing advancement flaps with fistula plugs is needed, and they calculate that 112 patients would need to be randomized to detect a statistically significant difference in success rates for each procedure. Because the fistula plugs are costly, the authors recommend that cost-benefit analysis be performed.

A retrospective study of 232 patients treated in Canada between 1997 and 2008 by a variety of methods for high transsphincteric anal fistulas was reported by Chung et al.(14) Postoperative healing rates at the 12-week follow-up for the fistula plug, fibrin glue, flap advancement, and seton drain groups were 59.3%, 39.1%, 60.4%, and 32.6%, respectively. The authors conclude that closure of the primary fistula opening using a biologic AFP and anal flap advancement results in similar fistula healing rates in patients with high transsphincteric fistulas and that these strategies are superior to seton placement and fibrin glue, stating, “Given the low morbidity and relative simplicity of the procedure, the anal fistula plug is a viable alternative treatment for patients with high transsphincteric anal fistulas.” The 12-week follow-up time in this study is likely too short to evaluate the durability of treatment.

Section Summary

Nonrandomized comparative studies report variation in rates of healing after AFP use compared with other fistula closure methods. These studies are limited by patient heterogeneity and generally relatively short-term follow up.

Noncomparative Studies

Blom et al reported results from a retrospective analysis of outcomes after AFP placement (with the Biodesign plug) at 4 hospitals.(15) The authors identified 126 patients who underwent AFP placement who were followed over a median of 13 months (range, 1-47). At the time of the last assessment, 30/126 patients (24%) had no symptoms indicative of fistula (pain at the fistula site or drainage). Anterior fistulas were less likely to have successful closure (12%) than posterior (32%) or lateral (41%) fistulas.

Cintron et al reported results from a prospective evaluation of 73 patients who received a porcine AFP (SurgiSIS AFP) for anorectal fistulas of various etiologies.(16) Patients with anorectal fistulas were offered participation in the study, although it is not noted how many patients were approached to participate. Seventy-eight plugs were inserted in 73 patients, and there were 7 plug fallouts (9.6% patient fallout rate). There were 45 treatment failures at a mean follow-up of 15 months (61.6% patient failure rate). The authors note that prior series of AFPs report a wide range in success rates from 24% to 88%.

Tan et al reported results from a prospective study with longer term follow-up (median 59 weeks) of patients who received the SurgiSIS AFP for anal fistulas thought to result from cryptoglandular abscesses.(17) Twenty-six patients with 30 fistulas were included. Most fistulas (86.7%) were transsphincteric. At last follow-up, 26 fistulas (86.7%) had reccurred.

Other papers report treatment of very small numbers of patients with rectovaginal fistulas, endoscopic treatment of postoperative enterocutaneous fistulas after bariatric surgery, a colocutaneous fistula, and a recurrent tracheoesophageal fistula treated with fistula plug.

Section Summary

Several relatively small, noncomparative studies that evaluated outcomes after AFP demonstrate a range of fistula reccurrence rates postprocedure. These types of studies provide limited information about the relative performance of AFP compared with standard treatments for anal fistulas.

Clinical Input Received through Physician Specialty Societies and Academic Medical Centers

While the various physician specialty societies and academic medical centers may collaborate with and make recommendations during this process through the provision of appropriate reviewers, input received does not represent an endorsement or position statement by the  physician specialty societies or academic medical centers, unless otherwise noted.

In response to requests, input was received from 3 physician specialty societies and 5 academic medical centers while this policy was under review in 2013. The clinical input was mixed with 3 reviewers in agreement that biosynthetic fistula plugs are considered investigational for all indications, and 4 reviewers considered its use as both investigational and medically necessary. One reviewer disagreed with the policy statement but noted that the success rates of all of the procedures (including AFPs) are widely aried, as reflected by our review of the literature.

Ongoing and Unpublished Clinical Trials

An online search of in July 2014 identified the following comparative trials evaluating anal fistula plugs:

  • A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Surgisis AFP to Advancement Flap for the Repair of Anal Fistulas (SurgiSIS AFP) (NCT00545441): This is a randomized, open-label trial to compare a fistula plug (Surgisis AFP) to advancement flap surgery for the repair of transsphincteric,
    suprasphincteric, or extrasphincteric anal fistulas. Enrollment is planned for 86 subjects; the estimated study completion date was April 2013, but no results have been posted.
  • Ligation of Intersphincteric Fistula Tract (LIFT) Versus LIFT-plug Procedure for Anal Fistula Repair (NCT01478139): This is a randomized, open-label trial to compare the LIFT procedure with LIFT with a bioprosthetic plug in patients with a transsphincteric fistula tract determined to be of cryptoglandular origin. Enrollment is planned for 240 patients; the estimated study completion date was November 2013, but no results have been posted.
  • Anal Fistula Treatment Outcome - Collagen Plug Versus Advancement Flap Surgery (NCT01021774): This is a randomized, single-blinded trial to compare a collagen plug (device not specified) with advancement flap surgery for the treatment of perianal fistulas. Enrollment is planned for 100 subjects; the estimated study completion date is December 2015.

A search of the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register identified an additional randomized trial evaluating anal fistula plugs:

  • The Fistula-In-Ano Trial (FIAT) comparing Surgisis® anal fistula plug versus surgeon's preference (advancement flap, fistulotomy, cutting seton) for transsphincteric fistula-in-ano (ISRCTN78352529): This is an RCT to evaluate the SurgiSIS AFP with standard care for management of high anal fistulas. Enrollment is planned for 500 subjects; the estimated study completion date is May 2015.

Summary of Evidence

Anal fistula plugs are biosynthetic devices used to promote healing and prevent recurrence of anal fistula. Evidence of efficacy of anal fistula plug treatment is quite limited. Available evidence reports a wide range of results and does not demonstrate that anal fistula plugs improve healing rates or reduce recurrence of anal fistulas. Randomized controlled trials that have sufficient numbers of patients with at least six months of follow-up, and that report healing, recurrence rates, and sphincter function before and after the procedure are required. In light of the limited data available and inconsistent outcomes reported, the impact on net health outcome is not known, and the use of anal fistula plugs is considered investigational.

Practice Guidelines and Position Statements

The 2011 Practice Parameters for the Treatment of Perianal Abscess and Fistula-in-Ano from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons gives treatment with an anal fistula plug for complex anal fistulas a weak recommendation. The guidelines note the available evidence is of moderate quality with success rates of less than 50% in the majority of studies. (12)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published an updated guidance on the suturable bioprosthetic plug in November 2011. (13) NICE determined that while there are no major safety concerns, evidence on the efficacy of the procedure is not adequate for it to be used without special arrangements for consent and for audit or research. Further, clinicians wishing to perform the procedure are encouraged to enroll patients into the Fistula-In-Ano Trial (FIAT) (Available online at: If the clinician chooses to perform the procedure outside of a clinical trial, the clinician should inform the clinical governance leads in their Trust, ensure that patients understand the uncertainty about the procedure’s efficacy and provide patients with clear written information (NICE recommends the information it developed for patients be provided) and audit and review clinical outcomes.

Practice Guidelines and Position Statements
The 2011 Practice Parameters for the Treatment of Perianal Abscess and Fistula-in-Ano from the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons gives treatment with an anal fistula plug for complex anal fistulas a weak recommendation. The guidelines note the available evidence is of moderate quality with success rates of less than 50% in the majority of studies.(18)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published an updated guidance on the suturable bioprosthetic plug in November 2011.(19) NICE determined that while there are no major safety concerns, evidence on the efficacy of the procedure is not adequate for it to be used without special arrangements for consent and for audit or research. Further, clinicians wishing to perform the procedure are encouraged to enroll patients into the Fistula-In-Ano Trial (available at: If the clinician chooses to perform the procedure outside of a clinical trial, the clinician should inform the clinical governance leads in their trust, ensure that patients understand the uncertainty about the procedure’s efficacy and provide patients with clear written information (NICE recommends the information it developed for patients be provided) and audit and review clinical outcomes.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations
Use of anal fistula plugs is not a preventive service.

Medicare National Coverage
There is no national coverage determination (NCD). In the absence of an NCD, coverage decisions are left to the discretion of local Medicare carriers.


  1. Simpson JA, Banerjea A, Scholefield JH. Management of anal fistula. BMJ. 2012;345:e6705. PMID 23069597
  2. Campbell ML, Abboud EC, Dolberg ME, et al. Treatment of refractory perianal fistulas with ligation of the intersphincteric fistula tract: preliminary results. Am Surg. Jul 2013;79(7):723-727. PMID 23816007
  3. Cirocchi R, Trastulli S, Morelli U, et al. The treatment of anal fistulas with biologically derived products: is innovation better than conventional surgical treatment? An update. Tech Coloproctol. Jun 2013;17(3):259-273.PMID 23207714
  4. Pu YW, Xing CG, Khan I, et al. Fistula plug versus conventional surgical treatment for anal fistulas. A system review and meta-analysis. Saudi Med J. Sep 2012;33(9):962-966. PMID 22964807
  5. Leng Q, Jin HY. Anal fistula plug vs mucosa advancement flap in complex fistula-in-ano: A meta-analysis. World J Gastrointest Surg. Nov 27 2012;4(11):256-261. PMID 23494149
  6. O'Riordan JM, Datta I, Johnston C, et al. A systematic review of the anal fistula plug for patients with Crohn's and non-Crohn's related fistula-in-ano. Dis Colon Rectum. Mar 2012;55(3):351-358. PMID 22469804
  7. Garg P, Song J, Bhatia A, et al. The efficacy of anal fistula plug in fistula-in-ano: a systematic review. Colorectal Dis. Oct 2010;12(10):965-970. PMID 19438881
  8. Jacob TJ, Perakath B, Keighley MR. Surgical intervention for anorectal fistula. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010(5):CD006319. PMID 20464741
  9. Ortiz H, Marzo J, Ciga MA, et al. Randomized clinical trial of anal fistula plug versus endorectal advancement flap for the treatment of high cryptoglandular fistula in ano. Br J Surg. Jun 2009;96(6):608-612. PMID 19402190
  10. van Koperen PJ, Bemelman WA, Gerhards MF, et al. The anal fistula plug treatment compared with the mucosal advancement flap for cryptoglandular high transsphincteric perianal fistula: a double-blinded multicenter randomized trial. Dis Colon Rectum. Apr 2011;54(4):387-393. PMID 21383557
  11.  Hyman N, O'Brien S, Osler T. Outcomes after fistulotomy: results of a prospective, multicenter regional study. Dis Colon Rectum. Dec 2009;52(12):2022-2027. PMID 19934925
  12. Christoforidis D, Pieh MC, Madoff RD, et al. Treatment of transsphincteric anal fistulas by endorectal advancement flap or collagen fistula plug: a comparative study. Dis Colon Rectum. Jan 2009;52(1):18-22. PMID 19273951
  13. Wang JY, Garcia-Aguilar J, Sternberg JA, et al. Treatment of transsphincteric anal fistulas: are fistula plugs an acceptable alternative? Dis Colon Rectum. Apr 2009;52(4):692-697. PMID 19404076
  14. Chung W, Kazemi P, Ko D, et al. Anal fistula plug and fibrin glue versus conventional treatment in repair of complex anal fistulas. Am J Surg. May 2009;197(5):604-608. PMID 19393353
  15. Blom J, Husberg-Sellberg B, Lindelius A, et al. Results of collagen plug occlusion of anal fistula: a multicentre study of 126 patients. Colorectal Dis. Aug 2014;16(8):626-630. PMID 24506192
  16. Cintron JR, Abcarian H, Chaudhry V, et al. Treatment of fistula-in-ano using a porcine small intestinal submucosa anal fistula plug. Tech Coloproctol. Apr 2013;17(2):187-191. PMID 23053440
  17. Tan KK, Kaur G, Byrne CM, et al. Long-term outcome of the anal fistula plug for anal fistula of cryptoglandular origin. Colorectal Dis. Dec 2013;15(12):1510-1514. PMID 23981140
  18. Steele SR, Kumar R, Feingold DL, et al. Practice parameters for the management of perianal abscess and fistula-in-ano. Dis Colon Rectum. Dec 2011;54(12):1465-1474. PMID 22067173
  19. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Closure of anal fistula using a suturable bioprosthetic plug. IPG 410. 2011; Accessed June, 2014.




CPT  46707 Repair of anorectal fistula with plug (e.g., porcine small intestine mucosa [SIS])
  43305; 43312 Esophagoplasty with repair of tracheoesophageal fistula, code range
  44640 Closure of intestinal cutaneous fistula
  57300 - 53708 Closure of rectovaginal fistula, code range
ICD-9-CM Procedure 31.73 Closure of other fistula of trachea (includes tracheoesophageal)
  46.74 Closure of fistula of small intestine, except duodenum (includes enterocutaneous)
  49.73 Closure of anal fistula
  70.73 Repair of rectovaginal fistula
ICD-9 Diagnosis  530.84  Tracheoesophageal fistula
  565.1 Anal fistula
  569.81 Fistula of intestine, excluding rectum and anus (includes enterocutaneous or colocutaneous fistula)
  619.1 Digestive-genital tract fistula, female (includes rectovaginal)
ICD-10-CM (effective 10/1/15)    Investigational for all diagnoses
   J86.0 Pyothroax with fistula
   K60.0-K60.5 Fissure and fistula of anal and rectal regions code range
   K63.2 Fistula of intestine
   N82.0-N82.9 Fistulae involving female genital tract code range
ICD-10-PCS (effective 10/1/15)   ICD-10-PCS codes are only used for inpatient services. There is no specific ICD-10-PCS code for this procedure.
   0DQQ0ZZ, 0DQQ3ZZ, 0DQQ4ZZ, 0DQQ7ZZ, 0DQQ8ZZ, 0DQQXZZ Surgical, repair, anus, code by approach
    0BQ10ZZ, 0BQ13ZZ, 0BQ14ZZ, 0BQ17ZZ, 0BQ18ZZ Surgical, repair, trachea, code by approach
   0DQ50ZZ, 0DQ53ZZ, 0DQ54ZZ, 0DQ57ZZ, 0DQ58ZZ Surgical, repair, esophagus, code by approach
   0DQ80ZZ, 0DQ83ZZ, 0DQ84ZZ, 0DQ87ZZ, 0DQ88ZZ Surgical, repair, small intestine, code by approach
   0DQA0ZZ, 0DQA3ZZ, 0DQA4ZZ, 0DQA7ZZ, 0DQA8ZZ Surgical, repair, jejunum, code by approach
   0DQB0ZZ, 0DQB3ZZ, 0DQB4ZZ, 0DQB7ZZ, 0DQB8ZZ Surgical, repair, ileum, code by approach
   0UQG0ZZ, 0UQG3ZZ, 0UQG4ZZ, 0UQG7ZZ, 0UQG8ZZ Surgical, repair, vagina, code by approach


Anal Fistula Plug
Fistula Plug


Policy History





Add to Surgery section

New policy

5/12/11 Replace policy Literature review update through March 2011, references 6-8 added; policy statement unchanged.
5/10/12 Replace policy Literature review update, references 9-10 updated, Rationale section revised; policy statement unchanged.
9/12/13 Replace policy Policy updated with literature search through August 28, 2013. References 1-3 added. Clinical input reviewed and minor edits undertaken based on comments from one reviewer on draft policy; no change to policy statement.
9/11/14 Replace policy Policy updated with literature review through July 30, 2014. References 1-3 and 15-17 added. Rationale and Background sections revised. Policy statement unchanged.