Send to

Choose Destination
J Pediatr Surg. 2001 May;36(5):736-8.

Internal anal sphincter achalasia: outcome after internal sphincter myectomy.

Author information

Children's Research Centre, Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dublin 12, Ireland.



Internal anal sphincter achalasia (IASA), also referred to as ultrashort segment Hirschsprung's disease (HD), is a clinical condition with presentation similar to HD, but with the presence of ganglion cells on rectal biopsy. The diagnosis of IASA is made on anorectal manometry, which shows the absence of rectosphincteric reflex on rectal balloon inflation. Altered intramuscular innervation has been reported in IASA. The purpose of this study was to review the outcome after internal sphincter myectomy in patients with IASA.


Fifteen consecutive patients (age range, 2 years to 12 years) with IASA underwent posterior internal sphincter myectomy. All patients presented with severe constipation with or without soiling. The diagnosis of IASA was made by anorectal manometry. HD was excluded in these cases by the presence of ganglion cells and normal acetylcholinesterase activity on suction rectal biopsies. Internal sphincter (IS) specimens were examined using immunohistochemistry for the general neuronal marker PGP 9.5 and synapsin 1 (a presynaptic marker) and using general histochemistry for NADPH-diaphorase. All patients underwent follow-up for periods from 2 years to 6 years.


PGP 9.5, synapsin 1 and NADPH-diaphorase positive nerve fibers were either absent or markedly reduced in IASA specimens compared with controls, confirming previous reports of defective intramuscular innervation in IASA. At the time of follow-up, 7 patients have regular bowel motions and are not on any laxatives. Six patients have normal bowel habits but are on small doses of laxatives. One patient is able to stay clean with regular enema regimen. One patient required resection of dilated and redundant sigmoid colon and now has normal bowel habits with laxatives.


The majority of patients with internal anal sphincter achalasia can be treated successfully by internal sphincter myectomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center