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Imperforate Anus

California Pediatric Surgical Group

General Surgery & Pediatric Surgery located in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, & Thousand Oaks, CA

Imperforate anus, which affects one in every 5,000 live births, means that your baby’s rectum doesn’t pass through and have an opening. Because this condition means there’s no way for stool to pass out of the body, the expert surgeons at California Pediatric Surgical Group in Santa Maria, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara, and two Ventura, California, offices provide advanced surgical corrections. Click the online scheduling tool or call the location nearest you to book your child’s imperforate anus evaluation today.

Imperforate Anus Q&A

What is imperforate anus?

Imperforate anus, also known as anorectal malformation (ARM), means that your baby’s rectum didn’t properly develop. The rectum should extend out and have an opening in which waste (stool) can exit the body. But with imperforate anus, the opening never forms and stool cannot pass through.

In most cases, doctors can diagnose imperforate anus right after delivery. For instance, when your baby has imperforate anus, a rectal thermometer cannot be inserted. Plus, stool may come out of other areas, including the vagina.

How does a doctor treat imperforate anus?

Surgery is necessary to correct imperforate anus. With this condition, not only do your baby’s intestines not properly empty out, they also wind up with a buildup of gas, which can cause their belly to bloat and swell. Your surgeon at California Pediatric Surgical Group may place a tube down your child’s throat into their stomach to remove fluid and air before they go in for surgery. 

The type of surgery your infant needs to correct imperforate anus depends on the severity of their condition. For minor issues, such as low anorectal malformation, your pediatric surgeon can match the end of your baby’s anus with the sphincter muscle. This is a definitive repair.

For intermediate to high ARM issues, your pediatric surgeon may recommend a temporary colostomy. This procedure involves bringing part of your baby’s intestine out through an opening in their abdominal wall. Stool passes through this opening. In this case, your baby will need additional procedures to correct their deformity as they develop. 

What is the recovery like after imperforate anus surgery?

With the help of the caring pediatric surgeons at California Pediatric Surgical Group, your child can grow up and develop normally. After imperforate anus surgery, periodic anal dilation, or stretching, is often necessary to prevent narrowing of the opening. 

Your pediatric surgeon teaches you how to care for your baby’s surgical wounds. In most cases, your infant can return to their normal diet immediately, although your surgeon may provide them with a laxative medication to promote healthy bowel movements. 

It takes several weeks for your baby to recover from imperforate anus surgery and routine follow-up care is necessary. If your child has an intermediate to high ARM issue, it may take several years of evaluations and surgeries to help your child have a healthy rectum and anus.

California Pediatric Surgical Group provides comprehensive surgical care for imperforate anus conditions. Book your child’s exam online or call the office nearest you to schedule by phone today.

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