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(fĭs`cho͝olə), 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, cancercancer,
in medicine, common term for neoplasms, or tumors, that are malignant. Like benign tumors, malignant tumors do not respond to body mechanisms that limit cell growth.
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, sexually transmitted diseasessexually transmitted disease
(STD) or venereal disease,
term for infections acquired mainly through sexual contact. Five diseases were traditionally known as venereal diseases: gonorrhea, syphilis, and the less common granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, and
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, and other disorders. Usually a fistula requires surgery. In horses an abscess on the withers from chafing and infection is termed a fistula.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
The findings on CT, which are suggestive of enterovesical fistula include (i) air in the bladder (in the absence of previous lower urinary tract instrumentation), (ii) oral contrast medium in the bladder on nonintravenous contrast enhanced scans, (iii) presence of colonic diverticula, and (iv) bladder wall thickening adjacent to a loop of thickened intestine (Figures 3, 4(a), and 4(b)) [4, 5, 37, 39].
However, currently its role in an enterovesical fistula workup is marginal since CT and other more advanced studies provide explicit information regarding not only the presence or absence of a fistula but more importantly about its location, complexity, and surrounding anatomical structures.
A detection rate for enterovesical fistula ranges between 20% and 30% [29].
The use of Tc-99m DTPA as a valuable method in diagnosis of enterovesical fistula has been reported [49, 50].
However, this method is contraindicated in the management of enterovesical fistula caused by diverticulitis as stent placement is associated with high risk of the colon perforation [60].
Both open and laparoscopic approaches have been used for the treatment of enterovesical fistula [2, 8, 57, 58].
Yeh, "Enterovesical fistula caused by a bladder squamous cell carcinoma," World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol.