INTRODUCTION: A high prevalence of cryptoglandular and Crohn's perianal fistulas has been reported worldwide, and several surgical options are available for the management of anal fistula, with varying clinical efficacy. However, currently, the available evidence for the effectiveness of these surgical approaches are lacking and of concern in terms of the credibility and strength. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the credibility of the published systematic reviews and meta-analyses that assess the efficacy and safety of the surgical options for cryptoglandular and Crohn's perianal fistulas through an umbrella review.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A systematic search in PubMed, Embase and Cochrane library will be performed from inception to December 2020 without any language restriction. We will include systematic reviews and meta-analyses that investigate the efficacy and safety of surgical approaches in the management of cryptoglandular and Crohn's perianal fistulas. Two reviewers will independently screen search results through reading the titles or abstracts. Relevant information will be extracted from each eligible systematic review or meta-analysis. Based on random effects model summary estimates along with their p values, 95% prediction intervals, between-study heterogeneity, small-study effects and excess significance, we will classify the evidence from convincing (class I) to weak (class IV). Findings will be summarized using quantitative synthesis combined with a narrative approach. Cryptoglandular and Crohn's perianal fistulas will be summarized separately. Two authors will independently perform the literature search, data extraction, and quality assessment of each included systematic review and meta-analysis. Any unresolved conflicts or doubts will be resolved by discussion or by consulting a senior author. The risk of bias of the systematic reviews will be assessed using a 16-item Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews 2 (AMSTAR2) checklist. The strength of evidence for the included systematic reviews will be classified as "high", "moderate", "low", or "critically low" quality.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval is not required as we will collect data from the published systematic reviews and meta-analyses without using individual patient data. The results of this umbrella review will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and will be presented at an anorectal disease conference.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020200754.