Analysis of Factors Associated with Patient or Caregiver Regret following Surgery for Fecal Incontinence

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Malone antegrade continence enema has been a successful and widely used procedure for achieving fecal continence in children. We present data on the previously uninvestigated issue of patient and caregiver regret following surgery for intractable constipation and fecal incontinence.

Materials and Methods

We reviewed all patients undergoing antegrade continence enema or cecostomy creation at a single institution between 2006 and 2016. Patients and caregivers were assessed for decisional regret using the Decisional Regret Scale. Results were correlated with demographics, surgical outcomes and complications.


A total of 81 responses (49 caregivers and 32 patients) were obtained. Mean followup was 49 months. Decisional regret was noted in 43 subjects (53%), including mild regret in 38 (47%) and moderate to severe regret in 5 (6%). No statistical difference in regret was noted based on gender, complications or performance of concomitant procedures. On regression analysis incontinence was strongly associated with decisional regret (OR 4.4, 95% CI 1.1–18.1, p <0.001) and regret increased as age at surgery increased, particularly when patients were operated on at age 13 to 15 years (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.0–6.4 for age 13 years; OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.1–7.8 for age 14 years; OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.1–8.8 for age 15 years).


This is the first known study describing decisional regret following surgery for fecal incontinence. Surgical factors aimed at achieving continence may be effective in decreasing postoperative regret. The finding of increased regret in teenage patients compared to younger children should be shared with families since it may impact the age at which surgery is pursued.

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