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Semin Pediatr Surg. 2003 May;12(2):118-23.

Reoperative surgery for anorectal anomalies.

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Department of Surgery & Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY, USA.


Complications occur during the repair of anorectal malformations relatively frequently. Unfortunately, these complications are often preventable. Furthermore, the consequences of these complications are significant. Not only do patients experience unnecessary pain and suffering, but a secondary operation always renders less optimal functional results. A 20-year experience in the care of children with anorectal malformations was retrospectively analyzed. Patients who previously underwent surgical repair at other institutions, and subsequently required secondary surgery by the primary author were evaluated; 334 patients were identified. Reasons for reoperation included fecal incontinence in 77 patients; dehiscence and retraction in 96; recto-genito-urinary fistulae in 55; persistent urogenital sinus in 31 cloaca patients; acquired vaginal atresia in 21; acquired urethral atresia in 9; posterior urethral diverticulum in 20; and overflow pseudo incontinence in 25 patients. Except for fecal incontinence, all other complications are considered preventable. The source of the complications in almost all other settings are technical errors at the time of the primary repair. Recommendations are presented to help prevent these complications, and suggestions are made on how to treat them when they occur.

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