Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Anorectal malformations comprise a wide spectrum of diseases, which can affect boys and girls, and involve the distal anus and rectum as well as the urinary and genital tracts. They occur in approximately I in 5000 live births. Defects range from the very minor and easily treated with an excellent functional prognosis, to those that are complex, difficult to manage, are often associated with other anomalies, and have a poor functional prognosis. The surgical approach to repairing these defects changed dramatically in 1980 with the introduction of the posterior sagittal approach, which allowed surgeons to view the anatomy of these defects clearly, to repair them under direct vision, and to learn about the complex anatomic arrangement of the junction of rectum and genitourinary tract. Better imaging techniques, and a better knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the pelvic structures at birth have refined diagnosis and initial management, and the analysis of large series of patients allows better prediction of associated anomalies and functional prognosis. The main concerns for the surgeon in correcting these anomalies are bowel control, urinary control, and sexual function. With early diagnosis, management of associated anomalies and efficient meticulous surgical repair, patients have the best chance for a good functional outcome. Fecal and urinary incontinence can occur even with an excellent anatomic repair, due mainly to associated problems such as a poorly developed sacrum, deficient nerve supply, and spinal cord anomalies. For these patients, an effective bowel management program, including enema and dietary restrictions has been devised to improve their quality of life.
Levitt, M., & Peña, A. (2007). Anorectal malformations. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, 2 (1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1750-1172-2-33