Rectal Suction Biopsy in Patients With Previous Anorectal Surgery for Hirschsprung Disease

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Objectives:The aim of the study was to determine rates of histologically positive, negative, and inconclusive rectal suction biopsies in post-pull-through patients with Hirschsprung disease evaluated for potential residual aganglionosis at our institution and to determine how patients were managed after a post-pull-through rectal suction biopsy.Methods:Thirty-nine post-pull-through suction biopsies from our institution were reviewed. Samples, stained with H&E and often acetylcholinesterase and/or calretinin, were categorized as “histologically” positive, negative, or inconclusive for aganglionosis. Subsequent clinical action was categorized as bowel resection, no further procedure, or rebiopsy. Agreement between histologic diagnosis and clinical action was assessed.Results:Histologically, all biopsies were inconclusive (46%) or negative (54%) for residual aganglionosis. Postbiopsy clinical action included redo pull-through (5%), no further procedure (59%), or rebiopsy (36%). Rebiopsy was sought in 2 of 21 histologically negative patients and in only 12 of 18 histologically indeterminate patients. Eventual redo pull-through procedures in 6 of 39 patients showed 4 with residual aganglionosis and 2 with abnormalities suggesting residual “transition zone.”Conclusions:Our findings show that suction biopsy after pull-through was frequently histologically indeterminate and never definitively positive for residual aganglionosis. When biopsy was histologically indeterminate, rebiopsy was pursued less commonly than may be expected. Our findings emphasize that suction biopsy examination is not a “criterion standard” for residual aganglionosis, but instead a component of a diagnosis that ultimately combines clinicopathologic factors, the constellation of which can sometimes spare patients from a more invasive full-thickness biopsy.

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