Fistula tract

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Author: Mikael Häggström [notes 1]


On this resource, the following formatting is used for comprehensiveness:

  • Minimal depth
  • (Moderate depth)
  • ((Comprehensive))

Gross processing

Probed surgically excised gastrocutaneous fistula tract.

Steps are as follows:[1]

  • (Review operative notes or preoperative radiological studies.)
  • ((Photograph the specimen.))
  • Measure the specimen
  • Probe for any tract
  • Inspect, with particular focus on any visible mucosa adjoining the fistula, looking mainly for friable areas or ulcers. Usually there is limited mucosa.
  • If successfully probed, dissect longitudinally with a pediatric or finer scissors along the inserted probe.

Tissue sampling

  • If an area of friability and/or ulceration is found, submit that entire area.[1]
  • Otherwise, submit one or two representative sections.

Microscopic examination

Look for:[1]

  • Inflammation
  • Scarring
  • Dysplasia/malignancy
  • Viral cytopathic effects, especially that of cytomegalovirus.


  1. For a full list of contributors, see article history. Creators of images are attributed at the image description pages, seen by clicking on the images. See Patholines:Authorship for details.

Main page


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Arvind Rishi, M.D., M.B.B.S., Toby C. Cornish, M.D., Ph.D.. Anus & perianal area - Other nonneoplastic - Fistula. Pathology Outlines. Topic Completed: 1 April 2014. Minor changes: 16 November 2020