Redo pull-through in Hirschprung's disease for obstructive symptoms due to residual aganglionosis and transition zone bowel

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Pediatric Surgery








Aganglionosis; Enterocolitis; Hirschsprung disease; Pull-through; Reoperation; Transition zone


Background: Reoperations in Hirschsprung disease may be required for residual aganglionosis or transition-zone bowel found at the distal pull-through. We aimed to review the management of patients who had this complication and offer suggestions on how to avoid it. Methods: Ninety-three patients with Hirschsprung disease were referred to our institution with recurrent problems after a pull-through done elsewhere. All required reoperations with a variety of indications, and of these, 25 had residual aganglionosis/transition-zone histology. This was the only indication for redo in 16 children. Results: Children (range, 2-17 years) presented 6 to 66 months after the initial pull-through. The predominant symptoms were enterocolitis (n = 9 [56%]), constipation (n = 7 [44%]), failure to thrive (n = 5 [31%]), and impaction (n = 4 [25%]). The rectal biopsy performed as part of their post pull-through work up showed hypertrophic nerves (n = 16), absent ganglion cells (n = 6), and normal ganglion cells (n = 10). The original frozen-section biopsy, determining the level of the pull-through, only sampled the seromuscular layer in 3 children, leading to misdiagnosis. Reoperations involved a transanal resection (n = 15) and a posterior sagittal approach (n = 1). In all cases, obstructive symptoms were resolved, and no patient has had recurrent enterocolitis. Conclusion: Patients' post pull-through with recurrent obstructive symptoms may have residual aganglionosis or transition-zone bowel. Reoperation can result in the resolution of these symptoms. Afull-thickness biopsy at the time of the initial pull-through to include the mucosa and submucosa may increase the possibility of identifying hypertrophic nerves. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

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