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Tech Coloproctol. 2003 Apr;7(1):35-44.

The posterior sagittal trans-sphincteric and trans-rectal approaches.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Surgery, Schneider Children's Hospital, 269-01 76th Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA.



The posterior sagittal, transphincteric approach to treat different pelvic problems has been known since the last century. Although some surgeons have embraced it and have enthusiastically advocated it's use, it has never become an overly popular technique. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the approach, both from a historical perspective and from the authors' experience.


The international literature on the subject was reviewed since 1877 up to the present date. A retrospective evaluation of the authors' experience was conducted. Specific attention was paid to the final result obtained in the treatment of the original condition, surgical complications and the effect of the surgical approach. on bowel and urinary control.


The review included 114 patients divided into two groups. Group A included 85 patients who underwent a posterior sagittal trans-sphincteric approach. Group B included 29 patients who underwent a posterior sagittal transanorectal approach, in which the anterior wall of the rectum and the sphincter were divided. Postoperative bowel control was normal in all patients except in those whose basic condition had resulted in fecal incontinence, or who had sustained an irreversible injury prior to the operation. Urinary control was normal except in cases with pre-operative incontinence. Complications included recurrence of rectogenito-urinary fistulae in 3 cases, rectocutaneous fistula in 3 patients with Hirschsprung's disease, and 2 partial wound dehisences.


The posterior sagittal trans-sphincteric approach represents a useful technical alternative. It seems to be particularly useful to treat complications after surgery for Hirschsprung's disease, presacral masses, acquired rectogenito-urinary fistulae and idiopathic rectal prolapse. The transanorectal approach provides excellent exposure to the posterior urethra and vagina. Bowel and urinary control are not compromised.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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