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Results of repeat anal sphincter repair

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Background: Patients with a poor outcome from anterior sphincter repair may be candidates for dynamic graciloplasty, artificial bowel sphincter implantation or a secondary repair. This study examines the outcome of repeat overlap repairs in these patients.

Methods: Twenty-six of 235 patients undergoing a sphincter repair (median age 43 (range 23–63) years) underwent repeat repair from May 1994 to April 1997. Twenty-three patients were available for follow-up. Clinical evaluation included a satisfaction scale from 1 to 10, the patient's assessment of percentage improvement, ability to defer defaecation before and after operation, and Wexner continence scores before and after operation. Manometric studies were performed in 21 patients before and 17 patients after operation, and anal ultrasonography was undertaken in 17 patients before and 14 patients after operation. External sphincter defects were present on all preoperative scans.

Results: At a median follow-up of 20 (range 5–42) months, 15 patients felt that they were 50 per cent or more improved after operation. On the satisfaction scale of 1–10 the median score was 7 (range 1–10). There was a significant improvement in the Wexner continence score from 19 (range 17–20) before operation to 12 (range 1–20) after operation (P < 0ยท001). Ability to defer defaecation improved significantly from less than 5 min in all patients before operation to greater than 15 min in six patients after operation. Ultrasonography showed good overlap of the external sphincter muscle in eight of 14 patients. All patients who failed to improve showed a residual defect on ultrasonography.

Conclusion: Repeat anterior repair produces a significant improvement in continence score and ability to defer defaecation in patients with obstetric sphincter damage. Clinical improvement correlates closely with an improvement in the appearance on endoanal ultrasonography.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St Mark's Hospital, Northwick Park, Watford Road, Harrow HA1 3UJ, UK

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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