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Rev Med Chil. 2002 Jul;130(7):803-8.

[Severe chronic constipation. Is it a problem of surgery?].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Servicio y Departamento de Cirugía, Hospital Clínico San Borja-Arriarán, Campus Centro, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile.


Severe chronic constipation is defined as less than two bowel movements per week, hard stools, non productive urgency and the need of digital maneuvers in more than 25% of bowel evacuations. The best studied causes of chronic severe constipation are slow bowel transit constipation and pelvic floor dysfunction. However, there are mixed forms that cross link with irritable colon syndrome. The main diagnostic tests are anorrectal manometry, bowel evacuation, X-ray studies and anorrectal sphincteromyomectomy, that can be therapeutic. Five percent of patients are surgical candidates. In cases of slow bowel movement, total colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis has satisfactory results in 80 to 90% of patients. Some patients with pelvic floor dysfunction have an occult rectal prolapse, rectocele or sigmoidocele and obtain benefits with the correction of these conditions. The remaining patients require a training of bowel evacuation, known as biofeedback. We have performed a total colectomy in 10 patients with slow bowel movements with good functional results in 80%. After 56 months of follow-up, a mean 2.6 bowel movements per day is reported by the patients. Four patients were also operated due to a solitary rectal ulcer and two patients due to a sigmoidocele, with satisfactory results.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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