Image: Fistula


Fistula, abnormal, inflamed passage leading from one internal organ, canal, or cavity to another, or to the surface of the body. Fistulas may be acquired or congenital.

They are usually named for the particular

They are usually named for the particular organ or region of the body affected. For example, salivary, bronchial, and biliary fistulas affect the salivary gland, neck, and gallbladder, respectively. Fistulas may also form between the urinary bladder and the rectum or the vagina. The most common fistula affecting these organs, called vesicovaginal fistula, occurs between the bladder and the vagina and is usually from injuries sustained in difficult childbirth.

Fistulas are generally treated by cauterization

Fistulas are generally treated by cauterization followed either by surgical closure or excision. The American gynecologist James Marion Sims performed the first operation on a vesicovaginal fistula in the United States in 1845.

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