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Related to branchial fistula: Branchial cyst, branchial sinus, thyroglossal fistula


fistula (fĭsˈcho͝olə), abnormal, usually ulcerous channellike formation between two internal organs or between an internal organ and the skin. It may follow a surgical procedure with improper healing, or it may be caused by injury, abscess, or infection with penetration deep enough to reach another organ or the skin. When open at only one end it is called an incomplete fistula or sinus. The most common sites of fistula are the rectum and the urinary organs, but almost any part of the body may be affected. Rectal fistulas are often associated with colitis, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and other disorders. Usually a fistula requires surgery. In horses an abscess on the withers from chafing and infection is termed a fistula.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an abnormal passage between hollow organs or between an organ, body cavity, or focus of disease and the body surface. Usually in the form of a narrow canal lined with epithelium or granulations, it continuously discharges pus, mucus, bile, urine, or feces.

Congenital fistulas, for example, umbilical fistulas, are developmental anomalies. Acquired fistulas result from such chronic inflammations as osteomyelitis, from tumors, or from injuries. Fistulas are usually treated by surgery.

It is sometimes necessary to create artificial fistulas surgically. They may connect hollow organs, in which case they are called internal fistulas, or anastomoses. An example is gastroenteroanastomosis in cicatricial stenosis of the outlet of the stomach.

Gastrostomy is the establishment of an external fistula, or stoma, for artificial feeding. External fistulas also permit the discharge of urine or feces. For example, cystostoma is a fistula of the urinary bladder formed when the urethra is compressed by a tumor. With external fistulas, care must be taken to avoid irritating or infecting the surrounding skin.


Struchkov, V. I. Gnoinaia khirurgiia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


An abnormal congenital or acquired communication between two surfaces or between a viscus or other hollow structure and the exterior.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


In ancient Roman construction, a water pipe of lead or earthenware.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Pathol an abnormal opening between one hollow organ and another or between a hollow organ and the surface of the skin, caused by ulceration, congenital malformation, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
(6) The treatment of choice for branchial fistula is surgical excision.
Several surgical approaches have been described for the management of a branchial fistula. These include a transcervical approach, either by a stepladder approach or through a long incision along the anterior border of sternocliedomastoid and a combined pull through technique.
Our patient's clinical picture was discharging sinus at left lower cervical region with no regional lymphadenopathy which was later on confirmed on CT FISTULOGRAM as type 4 branchial fistula. CT fistulogtam revealed a fistulous tract noted from skin in lower neck anterior to sternocleidomastoid traversing anterior to carotid artery and internal jugular vein and open internally into apex of left pyriform fossa-s/o fourth arch branchial fistula.
CONCLUSION: Branchial fistula arising from fourth branchial arch is rare.
Compared with branchial cysts and sinuses, branchial fistulas are quite rare.
In rare cases, a branchial sinus is also found to have an internal opening, thus forming a true branchial fistula.
Multidetector CT fistulography recently has been described for diagnosis of branchial fistula. (2) Radiologically demonstrable, complete branchial fistulas up to the tonsillar region are rare.
The treatment of choice for branchial fistula is complete surgical excision.