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Dis Colon Rectum. 2001 Nov;44(11):1624-9.

Advantages of a posterior fourchette incision in anal sphincter repair.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



Delayed repair of obstetric-related anal sphincter injury remains problematic, and perineal wound breakdown is common. The aim of this study was to assess the outcome after overlap anal sphincter repair and to determine the advantages, if any, of a posterior fourchette incision (n = 18) compared with a conventional perineal incision (n = 32).


Fifty females of mean parity 2.8 (standard deviation, 1.6) underwent repair in a five-year period. The mean follow-up was 23 months. Assessment was by anal vector manometry, endoanal ultrasound, and continence scoring.


Functional outcomes were similar in the two groups. Repair increased squeeze-pressure increment and improved continence scores in both groups. Postoperative wound complications were fewer when a posterior fourchette incision was used compared with a perineal incision (11 vs. 44 percent, respectively; P < 0.05).


Delayed anal sphincter repair improves continence. A posterior fourchette approach is associated with fewer postoperative wound complications without compromising the quality of repair and the functional outcome.

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