Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.E.) a Greek physician wrote a treatise on fistula repair about 400 B.C.E.
He used a length of horsehair passed through the fistula tract. The hair was tightened as it became loose and cut through the sphincter muscle over a few weeks, finally falling out and alowing the fistula to heal with no loss of sphincter control.
This ingenious technique is still used by me on selected patients with excellent results. Instead of a horse hair, I use a string of braided dacron called a SETON.
The fact that we still use an operation that was first performed almost 2500 years ago is a testament to the ingenuity of the "Father of Medicine". Hippocrates is credited with being the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally, and not because of evil spirits and other superstitious nonsense.
He was reputed to have lived to be over 100 years of age.