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Br J Surg. 1997 Feb;84(2):226-30.

Surgical management of anorectal incontinence due to internal anal sphincter deficiency.

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Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singleton Hospital, Sketty, Swansea, UK.



The aetiology, surgical management and outcome in 15 patients with anorectal incontinence due to internal and sphincter (IAS) deficiency as a result of previous anal surgery (n = 14) or penetrating trauma (n = 1) was studied.


The degree of anorectal incontinence was scored by the Cleveland Clinic system; median score was 14 (range 11-16) before surgery. In all patients the anal sphincter mechanism was assessed by endoanal ultrasonography. Thirteen of the 15 patients underwent either rotation (n = 5), island (n = 5) or advancement (n = 3) anoplasty to correct the contour defect in the anal canal. In the remaining two patients direct IAS repair was performed.


Four of the 13 patients who underwent anoplasty developed wound breakdown as the result of infection (n = 3) or inadvertent suture removal (n = 1). A defunctioning stoma was required in three of these patients but all of these have been closed. At median follow-up of 34 (range 6-72) months, all patients who underwent anoplasty have normal defaecatory control and a median continence score of 2 (range 0-4). Direct IAS repair produced no symptomatic improvement in either patient.


These results suggest that anoplasty deserves further evaluation in the treatment of anorectal incontinence due to discrete IAS defects, but that the place of IAS repair remains uncertain.

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