BackgroundSurgical management of complex perianal fistula associated with pararectal cavities can be challenging. We hypothesised that healing of the pararectal cavities prior to healing of the fistula leads to a better outcome. We aimed to assess the efficacy of irrigation catheters in the healing of pararectal cavities associated with fistula-in-ano.MethodsThis study design was consistent with IDEAL stage 2a (development) and was conducted at the Professorial Surgical Unit, National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. Thirty-two patients with complex fistulae with a pararectal cavity (detected by 2D-Endoanal ultrasounography-EAUS) were included. All patients underwent examination under anaesthesia (EUA), during which insertion of an irrigation catheter to the pararectal cavity and tagging of the primary fistula tract with a drainage seton was done. Patients were advised to irrigate with antiseptic solution and were followed-up at three weekly intervals to assess cavity reduction.ResultsThe majority were males (96.8%, n = 31). The primary fistula tract in 26 patients (81.2%) was trans-sphincteric and was inter-sphincteric in 6 patients (18.7%). Mean time of cavity contraction was 34.78 (range, 21–112) days. Complete healing was seen in 87.5% (n = 28), with 3 patients (9.37%) being lost to follow-up and 1 patient (3.12%) having a persistent perianal fistula after 6 months of follow-up. Those who had complete healing were followed up for a median duration of 6 (range, 3–20) months and there were no recurrences.ConclusionsIrrigation in the management of pararectal cavities yielded satisfactory results. A case control trial with larger numbers and assessment of cavity size pre and post procedure by 3D-EAUS/MRI evaluation would be necessary for more objective evaluation of the efficacy of this novel intervention.