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J Pediatr Surg. 2009 Oct;44(10):1913-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2009.02.072.

Long-term results of anterior sagittal anorectoplasty for the treatment of vestibular fistula.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Surgery, King George Medical University, Lucknow, UP 226 003, India.



Vestibular fistula is the commonest anorectal malformation in the female child. This article reports the treatment and long-term follow-up of 1206 patients of vestibular fistula treated by anterior sagittal anorectoplasty (ASARP) in a single center for 38 years.


All patients of vestibular fistula admitted and operated on at the Department of Pediatric Surgery, King George Medical University (Lucknow, UP India), from 1970 were included in the study; the age ranged from 2 days to 40 years. The diagnosis was made by clinical examination. We differentiated between anovestibular fistula (AVF) and rectovestibular fistula (RVF) in that the latter is a longer narrow fistula closely applied to the posterior wall of the vagina. Preoperative investigations included hemogram and blood glucose. Echocardiography was done in those patients showing a physical sign of cardiac anomaly. All patients were operated on in the lithotomy position by ASARP; this was done without colostomy in 1169 patients. In 6 patients, preliminary colostomy was done because of excessive perineal excoriation, and 31 others had colostomy done elsewhere. The striated muscle complex was delineated by electrostimulation, and anoplasty was performed after anchoring the rectum within the muscle complex. Washing of the perineum after passage of stools with application of povidone-iodine ointment constituted the local care. Intravenous antibiotics were administered for 48 hours and oral antibiotics (including metronidazole) for 5 days. The patient was discharged home by the fifth day.


Follow-up ranges from 3 months to 19 years; uneventful postoperative recovery was seen in 1147 patients. They had normal growth and development, normal appearance of the perineum, and a normal quality of life. Complications were seen in 60 patients (5%) of which 42 had AVF and 18 had RVF. Eight patients had postoperative wound disruption that was minor in 4 and required colostomy in the other 4. Four patients had recurrence of vestibular fistula thus creating an iatrogenic perineal canal; this could be repaired by a second ASARP in 3 patients and required colostomy and PSARP in one child. Anal stenosis was seen in 11 patients; this was treated by dilatation alone in 6 and required posterior Y-V plasty in 5. The rate of complications in RVF was lower than AVF probably because of lesser number of patients; there was no difference in stooling pattern or continence between uncomplicated patient of RVF and AVF; however, fecal staining was seen in all patients undergoing revision surgery for complications.


This experience with ASARP showed a good result in 95% patients in a single-stage procedure. The technical ease and minimal preoperative and postoperative measures make ASARP the procedure of choice for vestibular fistula in females at all ages. Until sufficient experience is gained, it may be safer to operate on patients with RVF under cover of a protective colostomy.

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