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Dis Colon Rectum. 1999 Nov;42(11):1411-8.

Use of vector volume manometry and endoanal magnetic resonance imaging in the adult female for assessment of anal sphincter dysfunction.

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  • 1Academic Department of Colorectal Surgery, Imperial College School of Science, Technology, and Medicine, London, United Kingdom.



This study compared conventional water-perfused and vector volume anal manometry in female patients with neurogenic fecal incontinence and chronic anal fissure and in healthy female volunteers. We used endoanal magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to measure internal and external sphincter lengths and thicknesses and contrasted these with the manometric findings in the different anorectal conditions.


One hundred thirty-three female subjects were studied over an eight-month period, including 33 control volunteers, 83 patients with neurogenic fecal incontinence, and 17 patients with chronic anal fissure. Conventional manometry was contrasted with automated vector volume-derived parameters. Endoanal magnetic resonance images were obtained using a previously described internal coil with a 0.5 T Asset scanner measuring quadrantal internal sphincter thickness and averaged coronal internal and external sphincter lengths.


There was a statistically significant relationship between parameters measured by conventional manometry and those variables derived from vector volume manometry at rest and squeeze. There was no difference in sectorial vector-derived pressures within any anorectal condition and no correlation between quadrantal internal sphincter thickness measurements and sectorial pressures at rest. Patients with chronic anal fissure and neurogenic fecal incontinence had constitutionally shorter superficial and subcutaneous external sphincters than healthy control subjects (P < 0.001).


There is no association between manometric findings and morphologic sphincter measurement; however, the shorter distal external sphincter in patients with fissure might render the lower anal canal relatively unsupported after internal sphincterotomy in the female patient.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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