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J Pediatr Surg. 2011 Feb;46(2):342-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2010.11.014.

Redo pull-through in Hirschsprung's [corrected] disease for obstructive symptoms due to residual aganglionosis and transition zone bowel.

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  • 1Colorectal Center for Children, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Pediatr Surg. 2011 Apr;46(4):791.



Reoperations in Hirschsprung disease may be required for residual aganglionosis or transition-zone bowel found at the distal pull-through. We aimed to review the management of patients who had this complication and offer suggestions on how to avoid it.


Ninety-three patients with Hirschsprung disease were referred to our institution with recurrent problems after a pull-through done elsewhere. All required reoperations with a variety of indications, and of these, 25 had residual aganglionosis/transition-zone histology. This was the only indication for redo in 16 children.


Children (range, 2-17 years) presented 6 to 66 months after the initial pull-through. The predominant symptoms were enterocolitis (n = 9 [56%]), constipation (n = 7 [44%]), failure to thrive (n = 5 [31%]), and impaction (n = 4 [25%]). The rectal biopsy performed as part of their post pull-through work up showed hypertrophic nerves (n = 16), absent ganglion cells (n = 6), and normal ganglion cells (n = 10). The original frozen-section biopsy, determining the level of the pull-through, only sampled the seromuscular layer in 3 children, leading to misdiagnosis. Reoperations involved a transanal resection (n = 15) and a posterior sagittal approach (n = 1). In all cases, obstructive symptoms were resolved, and no patient has had recurrent enterocolitis.


Patients' post pull-through with recurrent obstructive symptoms may have residual aganglionosis or transition-zone bowel. Reoperation can result in the resolution of these symptoms. A full-thickness biopsy at the time of the initial pull-through to include the mucosa and submucosa may increase the possibility of identifying hypertrophic nerves.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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