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Rectal Prolapse Surgery

Topic Overview

Surgeons can repair a complete rectal prolapse. They make a cut through the abdomen or the perineum.

  • In abdominal surgery, the surgeon makes a cut in the abdomen. He or she may secure part of the large intestine or the rectum, or both, to the inside of the abdominal cavity with sutures or a piece of mesh (rectopexy). This surgery can restore a natural shape to the large intestine. The surgeon may also remove part of the large intestine and sew the ends together. Other conditions that may be present (such as a rectocele or prolapsed uterus) can also be repaired. Depending on the type of problems present, the surgeon may make a large, single cut (open surgery) or may make several small cuts along with using an instrument with a small camera that allows the surgeon to see inside the body (laparoscopic surgery). Rectal prolapse will come back in fewer than 1 out of 10 people who have this surgery.1
  • In perineal surgery, the surgeon goes through the perineum or anus. The surgeon can place a piece of mesh or suture material around the circular muscle that controls the anus (anal sphincter). This type of surgery does not stress the body as much as other types of surgery. But it is more likely that prolapse will occur again. It is most often used for frail, older adults who have other serious medical problems. It does not correct the condition that is causing the prolapse and can lead to problems with constipation or blockage. People who have this type of surgery may need frequent laxatives or enemas. Rectal prolapse will come back in about 1 to 3 out of every 10 people who have this surgery.1

If the surrounding tissue is no longer holding part of large intestine in the correct position, your surgeon may have to remove part of the intestine and then reattach it to the rectum.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Varma M, et al. (2011). Practice parameters for the management of rectal prolapse. Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, 54(11): 1339–1346. Available online: http://www.fascrs.org/physicians/practice_parameters.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer C. Dale Mercer, MD, FRCSC, FACS - General Surgery
Last Revised April 15, 2013

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