Review article: medical, surgical and radiological management of perianal Crohn’s fistulas.Tozer PJ, Burling D, Gupta A, Phillips RK, Hart AL. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Jan;33(1):5-22. BACKGROUND: Crohn’s anal fistulas are common and cause considerable morbidity. Their management is often difficult; medical and surgical treatments rarely lead to true healing with frequent recurrence and complications. AIM: To examine medical treatments previously and currently used, surgical techniques and the important role of optimal imaging. METHODS: We conducted a literature search in the Pub Med database using Crohn’s, Anal Fistula, Surgery, Imaging and Medical Treatment as search terms. RESULTS: Antibiotics and immunosuppressants have a role, but slow initial response, side effects and relatively low remission rates of up to around a third with frequent recurrence limit their value. Long-term infliximab produces clinical remission in 36-58% of patients with combined medical and surgical management achieving optimal outcomes. Traditional and newer surgical procedures often have a high rate of recurrence with a significant risk of temporary or, in up to 10% of cases, permanent stomas, incontinence and unhealed or slowly healing wounds in 30%.CONCLUSIONS: Management of Crohn’s anal fistulas remains challenging. Established principles are to drain infection, use setons as required, aggressively manage active proctitis, give antibiotics, immunosuppressants and employ anti-TNFα therapy, and they demand significant co-operation between gastroenterologists and surgeons.