Anal endosonography in patients with anorectal symptoms after haemorrhoidectomy

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Abstract

Background

Anorectal symptoms after haemorrhoidectomy are common and treatment is often empirical. Because of this, an audit was carried out of the value of anal endosonography in patients with anorectal symptoms after haemorrhoidectomy.

Methods

Between May 1993 and February 1997, 16 patients (ten men and six women of median age 56 (range 35-77) years) were investigated by anal endosonography for anorectal symptoms after haemorrhoidectomy which involved anorectal incontinence (n = 10), anal pain (n = 4) and obstructive defaecation (n = 2). The findings were compared with those in a matched group of asymptomatic patients after haemorroidectomy.

Results

Anal endosonography demonstrated an abnormality in 12 symptomatic patients. Of the ten patients with anorectal incontinence, endosonography showed an internal anal sphincter defect (n = 5), a combined sphincter defect (n = 2) and an isolated external anal sphincter defect (n = 1). Normal appearances were seen in all asymptomatic patients. The endosonographic abnormalities of the four patients with anal pain included internal anal sphincter defect (n = 1), extrinsic mass (n = 1), and intersphincteric abscess (n = 1). One of the two patients with obstructive defaecation had an isolated external anal sphincter defect on endosonography.

Conclusion

These results show a high yield of endosonographic abnormalities in patients who experience symptoms after haemorrhoidectomy. In particular, occult sphincter injury as a cause of incontinence in these patients can frequently be demonstrated.

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