LIFT procedure

The LIFT Procedure involves Ligation of the Intersphincteric Fistula Tract. It is a relatively new technique for treating anal fistula that avoids cutting the anal sphincter. This technique was popularised in Thailand by Rojanasakul et al [1], with a number of studies now all showing success rates of 70-94% [2-4].

It involves making a small incision to the side of the anus, and tying off and excising the middle portion of the fistula tact. The external opening to the skin is cleaned out (curetted) and left open to facilitate drainage and healing. No attempt is made to cover the internal opening with a flap.


  1. Rojanasakul A, Pattanaarun J, Sahakitrungruang C, Tantiphlachiva K. Total anal sphincter saving technique for fistula-in-ano: the ligation of intersphincteric fistula tract. J Med Assoc Thai. 2007;90:581–586
  2. Armen Aboulian, Amy H. Kaji, Ravin R. Kumar, Early Result of Ligation of the Intersphincteric Fistula Tract for Fistula-in-Ano, dcr, 2011
  3. O’Connor L, Champagne BJ, Ferguson MA, Orangio GR, Schertzer ME, Armstrong DN. Efficacy of anal fistula plug in closure of Crohn’s anorectal fistulas. Dis Colon Rectum. 2006;49: 1569–1573.
  4. Shanwani A, Nor AM, Amri N. Ligation of intersphincteric fistula tract (LIFT): a sphincter-saving technique in fistula-in-ano. Dis Colon Rectum. 2010;53:39–43.
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