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Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons
     Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 120-123

Anorectal malformations: Definitive management during and beyond adolescence

Department of Paediatric Surgery, B J Medical College, Pune, India

Date of Web Publication6-Jul-2012

Correspondence Address:
Minakshi Sham
G/101, Sudarshan Apartments, Behind Spencer's Daily, Karvenagar; Pune - 411 052, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9261.98131

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Aim: To evaluate our results of definitive repair of anorectal malformations in patients with delayed presentation, during and beyond adolescence. Material and Methods: It is a retrospective analysis of all adolescent patients presenting for the first time for definitive repairs and innate patients - colostomy performed during the neonatal period, but who had lost to follow-up. It includes 15 patients (2 male and 13 female) aged from 13 to 32 years. Three well-decompressed female patients were managed by primary anterior sagittal anorectoplasty (ASARP). Twelve patients underwent staged procedures. Five patients (two male and three female) underwent posterior sagittal anorectoplasty (PSARP). The oldest male patient underwent abdominal-PSARP. Results: All of them attained socially acceptable fecal continence at follow-up of 1-4½ years. They are satisfied with the functional and cosmetic outcome of repair of their anomalies. Conclusions: Prospects of fecal continence are good when definitive repair of anorectal malformations is done by an expert, even in the adolescent age group and beyond.

Keywords: Anorectal malformations, anovestibular fistula, delayed presentation, pouch colon

How to cite this article:
Sham M, Singh D, Phadke D. Anorectal malformations: Definitive management during and beyond adolescence. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2012;17:120-3

How to cite this URL:
Sham M, Singh D, Phadke D. Anorectal malformations: Definitive management during and beyond adolescence. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 Mar 31];17:120-3. Available from: https://www.jiaps.com/text.asp?2012/17/3/120/98131

   Introduction Top

Presentation of anorectal malformations in the adolescence is not uncommon in resource-poor environment. [1] Staged management is often recommended for treatment of anorectal malformations, especially in adolescents. [1],[2],[3],[4] We present our experience of definitive repair (primary and staged) of anorectal malformations with delayed presentation.

   Materials and Methods Top

We have operated 15 patients with anorectal malformations between 13 to 32 years of age from January 2006 to December 2010. There were 2 male and 13 female patients. It is a retrospective, nonrandomized study of case records of above defined group and analysis of our results in the study population.

Plain radiographs of the spine, ultrasonography of the abdomen, and micturating cysto-urethrogram (MCU) were done in all. Fistulogram using water-soluble contrast medium was done in all female patients. Ten female patients, who had constipation at the time of presentation and grossly dilated rectosigmoid on the fistulogram, underwent completely divided sigmoid colostomy as an initial step. The different procedures performed for definitive correction included posterior sagittal anorectoplasty (PSARP), anterior sagittal anorectoplasty (ASARP), or abdominal-assisted PSARP/ASARP. The operative time required for different definitive procedures was about 2-5 h.

Neoanal dilatations were started from postoperative day 10 to 14 and continued for about 6 months, postcolostomy closure. Colostomy closure was done 6-12 weeks following the definitive procedure.

Repair in male patients

Both male patients underwent repair by PSARP approach. The 32-year-old male required abdominal mobilization, in addition to PSARP. The second patient also underwent PSARP. However, mobilization of the pouch was quite difficult and time consuming because of high placement of the rectum and convexity of the adolescent sacrum, making it further difficult to access the anorectal pouch.

Repair in female patients

Majority of female patients underwent definitive repair by ASARP. [5],[6] Primary ASARP was done in three well-decompressed female patients. All other patients underwent staged procedures. Three female patients underwent repair by the PSARP approach, because of the surgeon's preference. Two female patients (one operated outside) required redo definitive procedures. One female patient repaired by PSARP, had retracted and anteriorly positioned anal opening. ASARP was done as redo operation in her with good results. [7]

The 16-year-old adolescent girl had type IV pouch colon [8] (case 9) measuring 25 × 15 × 15 cm with a very wide colovestibular fistula. She underwent pouch excision and abdomino-ASARP in stages. The female child who had completed all three stages outside and had presented to us with recurrent vestibular and large rectovaginal fistulae was managed by initial redo colostomy. Division of fistula with vaginoplasty and Y-V anoplasty were done for correction of her anomaly.

All patients were electively taught Kegel exercises starting 1 month after the definitive repair. Colostomy closure was done between 6 and 12 weeks following the definitive repair. Size of anal opening, anal tone, and bowel habits were assessed during follow-up visits. The results (postoperative fecal continence) were judged by Kelly's continence score, [9] 6 months, 1 year, and 4 years postoperatively. The follow-up period ranged from 1 to 4½ years [Table 1].
Table 1: Case details

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Difficulties encountered and technical modifications utilized

  • Patient positioning on table was a major problem especially during PSARP. Prone jack-Knife position is the standard position described for PSARP. Our patients were placed prone with adequate padding underneath the groins; but with few modifications. After induction of anesthesia on a trolley, and Foley catheterization of the bladder, the patient was log rolled and placed prone onto the operation table like a trauma patient. The repair was completed by standing on the right side of the operation table, rather than standing at the foot end as has been described in the standard text.
  • Many authors have described sagittal splitting of the coccyx to gain access to high rectal pouch. [2],[4],[10] We, in addition, resorted to removal of the coccyx (coccygectomy) in three of our patients who underwent PSARP.
  • The convexity of the adolescent sacrum and high placement of the rectum made the dissection difficult. Gentle downwards and sideways traction was applied to the anorectal pouch to make the neurovascular bundles taut and bring them under view. Patiently done dissection using mixter forceps and use of bipolar diathermy helped.
  • Division of thick neurovascular bundles was required to mobilize adequate length of the rectum. Bleeding was more as compared to definitive procedures in younger children. This was tackled by using bipolar diathermy and adequately coagulating the neurovascular bundles before cutting them.
  • It was difficult to accommodate the dilated rectum within the sphincter muscle complex. Tapering of the rectum over #14 Hegar dilator was done in 10 patients.
  • The operative time ranged from 2 to 5 h as compared to 1¼ to 2 hours for similar procedures performed by us in younger children.
  • Management of ARM with pouch colon raises special problems. Proximal diversion in the form of window colostomy, proximal ileostomy, end colostomy after division of fistula, or end colostomy after coloplasty has been described as the first step. [9],[11] None of the above, best-suited our case. Here, the pouch was grossly dilated and fecally loaded. Postoperatively, it would have been impossible to clean the pouch through the vestibular fistula, had it been left behind. Also complete excision of the pouch was impractical. Hence, we did subtotal excision of the pouch alongwith descending end colostomy. Abdomino-ASARP was performed for the definitive repair in this girl, rather than abdomino-PSARP, since we believed approaching both the abdomen and the perineum were easy in the supine- lithotomy position.

   Results Top

No deaths occurred in the postoperative period. Vaginal tear occurred in one, while partial tear of most distal part of fistula occurred in two children. One patient with primary ASARP developed superficial wound infection and dehiscence. Retraction of the anus was noted in one female patient who had undergone repair by PSARP approach. She also had anteposed anus. This was corrected by an ASARP with reconstruction of the perineal body. Neoanal narrowing occurred in one female patient (case 3), who did not follow the regime of neoanal dilatations. This required correction by Y-V anoplasty. The female child who had completed all three stages outside and had presented to us with recurrent vestibular and large rectovaginal fistula (case 5) was managed by initial redo colostomy. Division of fistula with vaginoplasty and Y-V anoplasty were done for correction of her anomaly. The cosmetic result was very good, despite a redo surgery.

Among patients staged with colostomy, troublesome peri-anal excoriations following colostomy closure was a significant problem in two patients. It required diet modulations, regular applications of egg albumin, zinc oxide, etc., and good peri-anal care, i.e., keeping the area clean and dry. This settled over a period of 15 days or so. All our patients are satisfied with the functional and cosmetic outcome of repair of their anomalies at a follow-up of 1 to 4½ years. Our continence results are 75%-80%, i.e., comparable to other large series treating adolescent patients. [12]

   Discussion Top

Adolescent anorectal malformations comprised 15%-20% ARM patients operated at our institution. Female preponderance was noted probably because of poverty, lack of access to advanced healthcare in rural areas of Maharashtra, or neglect of the female children in our society. Also the need for emergency colostomy in neonatal period in male children with high and intermediate lesions may have had an impact towards early definitive repairs in them.

It is desirable to complete the procedure of anorectoplasty before the age of 6 months. [13] Hashmi et al. have also described primary ASARP in well-decompressed female children with delayed presentation. [14] Sinha et al. have performed primary ASARP in three adolescent female patients with low ARM with good results. [12] They have also tried to analyze the causes of delayed presentation of ARM, which include wrong advice regarding the correct age of treatment, inadequate management of ARM elsewhere, delayed diagnosis, lack of money, and lack of social support. [12] Poverty, presence of associated cardiac anomalies [Table 1], inadequate knowledge about the management of ARM, and lack of access to advanced healthcare in rural areas of Maharashtra (India) were the factors noted by us in the present study. Delayed presentation has been defined as male patients presenting after 7 days of birth and female patients with presentation beyond 6 months of age in study by Sinha et al., [12] whereas in our case all patients were above 13 years - all female patients coming to our centre for the first time and colostomised males presenting for definitive repair for the first time.

Though, most of the intermediate and high malformations in both males and females are amenable to correction by PSARP approach, in few cases of very high lesions, adequate mobilization of the distal pouch to obtain a tension free skin-mucosa anastomosis and a normally located neoanus may still be difficult. Abdominal mobilization of the high rectum/vagina is often combined with PSARP in these cases. [2],[3],[4] In our study too (case 4), since the patient had recto-bladder neck fistula, mobilization of the rectal pouch by PSARP approach alone was difficult. Also the problem was compounded by the patient's age, ascent of colostomy with age, and the curvature of the sacrum, making it further difficult. Hence, we resorted to abdomino-PSARP.

From this study, we wish to emphasize the fact that no patient requiring definitive correction of his/her anorectal malformations should be denied the procedure (in the absence of gross sacral anomalies) on the basis of age alone. In fact, there are ample reports in literature of definitive procedures either primary or secondary procedure, done even in adult patients with ultimate achievement of socially acceptable continence. Gil-Vernet et al. have described good results with Rehbein abdominoperineal pull-through plus a PSARP for high anorectal malformations in the age group of 3-20 years. [15] Similarly good level of continence was achieved by Clifford et al.[16] by employing PSARP as a secondary procedure with failed primary repairs. Our continence results of 75%-80% are comparable to other series treating adolescent patients. [2] Creating awareness among the public and health care professionals about the problem of anorectal malformations, the need for early operative correction in them and making pediatric surgical health care accessible at peripheral health care centers should be our ultimate goal. [17]

Our's being a nonrandomized study with a small sample size, the results may be skewed. Similarly, our follow-up is short, ranging from 1 to 4½ years. Our patients are under regular follow-up and we will evaluate our long-term results. Nevertheless, we think, our results are representative and the sample size is adequate enough to encourage more and more pediatric surgeons to undertake definitive repairs even in older patients with ARM and restore their right to normal defecation, which they very much deserve. Also, to the best of our knowledge, this is one of the largest series from India treating adolescents and adult patients with ARM.

   References Top

1.Taiwo JO, Abdurrahman LO, Nasir AA, Odi TO. Primary PSARP in the adolescent girl: How safe? Afr J Surg 2009;6:144-53.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Kiely EM, Pena A. Anorectal malformations. In: O'Neill JA Jr, Rowe MI, Grosfeld JL, Fonkalsrud EW, Coran AG, editors. Pediatric surgery. 5th ed. St Louis: Mosby; 1998. p. 1425.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Devries PA, Pena A. Posterior sagittal anorectoplasty. J Pediatr Surg 1982;17:638-43.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Pena A, Devries PA. Posterior sagittal anorectoplasty: Important technical considerations and new applications. J Pediatr Surg 1982;7:796-808.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Okada A, Kamata S, Imura K, Fukazawa M, Kubota A, Yagi M, et al. Anterior sagittal anorectoplasty for rectovestibular and anovestibular fistula. J Pediatr Surg 1992;27:85-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Wakhlu A, Wakhlu AK. Anterior Sagittal Anorectoplasty. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2004;9:74-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
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7.Okada A, Tamada H, Tsuji H, Azuma T, Yagi M, Kubota A, et al. Anterior sagittal anorectoplasty as a redo operation for imperforate anus. J Pediatr Surg 1993;28:933-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Narasimha Rao KL, Yadav K, Mitra SK, Pathak IC. Congenital short colon with imperforate anus (pouch colon syndrome). Ann Pediatr Surg 1984;1:159-67.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Bhatnagar V. Assessment of postoperative results in anorectal malformations. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2005;10:80-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
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10.Gopal SC. Single Stage PSARP in neonates. In: Gupta DK, editor. Textbook of Neonatal Surgery. 1st ed. New Delhi: Modern Publishers; 2000. p. 249-53.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Wakhlu AK, Wakhlu A, Pandey A, Agarwal R, Tandon RK, Kureel SN. Congenital short colon. World J Surg 1996;20:107-14.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Sinha SK, Kanojia RP, Wakhlu A, Rawat JD, Kureel SN, Tandon RK. Delayed presentation of anorectal malformations. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2008;13:64-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
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13.Moore TC. Advantages of performing the sagittal anoplasty operation for imperforate anus at birth. J Pediatr Surg 1990;25:276-7.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Hashmi MA, Hashmi S. Anorectal malformations in female children - 10 years experience J R Coll Surg Edin 2000;45:153-8.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.Gil-Vernet JM, Asensio M, Marhuenda C, Broto J, Wayar A. Nineteen years experience with posterior sagittal anorectoplasty as a treatment of anorectal malformation. Cir Pediatr 2001;14:108-11.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Simmang CL, Huber PJ Jr, Guzzetta P, Crockett J, Martinez R, et al. Posterior sagittal anorectoplasty in adults: Secondary repair for persistent incontinence in patients with anorectal malformations. Dis Colon Rectum 1999;42:1022-7.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Rathod KJ, Mahalik S, Bawa M, Samujh R, Rao KLN. Delayed presentation of anorectal malformations: Need of community awareness. Indian J Public Health 2011;55:135-6.  Back to cited text no. 17
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