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SubTract Medical

Team Members:
  • Ebenezer Armah
  • Zack Buono
  • Sophia Diaz
  • Karina Frank
  • Kiley Gersch
  • Monet Slinowsky
  • Bashar Safar, MD
  • Chady Atallah, MD


SubTract Medical aims to develop a novel, device-based approach to treating complex perianal fistulas. Perianal fistulas are a debilitating physical condition that affects 140,000 individuals annually in the U.S. alone. This condition presents in patients as a chronic inflammatory tract between the anal canal or rectum and the surrounding perianal skin. This condition can result in devastating symptoms such as constant drainage, chronic pain, psychological and social distress, and the inability to sit. If left untreated, fistulas can dramatically worsen, putting patients at risk of fecal incontinence or sepsis. Anorectal fistulas are classified as either simple or complex based on their anatomy and/or patient comorbidities. Factors that can cause a fistula to be deemed complex include its involvement of a significant portion of the anal sphincter muscle, comorbidities such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or the existence of multiple branches and/or openings. Simple fistulas are relatively easy to treat, but complex perianal fistulas pose a greater clinical challenge, with current solutions succeeding only 40-70% of the time. Our solution aims to deskill a technically challenging procedure that can be used to repair complex perianal fistulas which has shown promising results when performed in the hands of skilled surgeons. By closing the internal opening of the fistula simply and effectively without compromising the anal sphincter muscles, our solutions support the body’s natural healing process while simultaneously preserving patients’ fecal continence. By deskilling a prohibitively complex procedure, our device makes complex perianal fistula repair achievable to surgeons of all skill levels, thus making the solution accessible to a wider and more complex patient population.

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