Anal Sphincter Repair
When is anal sphincter repair performed?
This operation is usually performed for people with a gap in the anal sphincter, the muscle around the anal canal that is important in continence (the ability to hold on to stools and delay defaecation until a convenient time). The most common cause for this problem is damage resulting from childbirth, even though this might have been many years prior to onset of symptoms.
What other tests are necessary before the operation?
Most patients undergoing this operation will previously have had anorectal physiology, endoanal ultrasound, transit studies and a proctogram.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic. In a woman with an obstetric injury, this incision is in the perineum-the skin between the anus and vagina. The scarred muscle is identified as well as the normal muscle. The scar tissue is then cut and the normal muscle brought together and secured with stitches. The skin is then closed over this.
What is the recovery like after surgery?
Patients are able to go home whenever they are comfortable, often on the day after surgery. Patients will often take laxatives after the operation as it is important not to get constipated whilst the wound is healing. Unfortunately, it is common for these wounds to get a degree of infection. Patients are encouraged to get into the bath and soak the area every day in order to keep it as clean as possible. It is often only several weeks after the operation that the patient and surgeon are able to tell if symptoms have been improved and the operation has been a success.