Outcomes from the correction of anorectal malformations

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Purpose of review

Anorectal malformations have been recognized and managed since antiquity, with surgical treatment evolving to maximize anatomic reconstruction, avoid complications, and understand mechanisms of incontinence, ultimately leading to improved quality of life for patients. This review describes recent advances in the management of anorectal malformations, including prenatal diagnosis, newborn treatment, surgical correction, and postoperative care.

Recent findings

Surgical treatment has improved with better understanding and exposure of anatomy and appreciation of the intimate relation between rectum and urinary tract. Repair of cloacal malformations has evolved to include the total urogenital mobilization and an appreciation of the complex associated Mullerian anomalies. The importance of associated urologic, gynecologic, neurologic, and orthopedic malformations has been recognized. Addition of a bowel management program to patients' postoperative care has increased dramatically the number of children who are clean and dry.


Management of anorectal malformations requires an accurate clinical diagnosis, proper newborn treatment, meticulous anatomic reconstruction, and comprehensive postoperative care with the goal of having a child who is clean and dry, with an excellent quality of life, because they either have the capacity for continence or can be kept artificially clean with a comprehensive bowel management program.

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