Does posterior sagittal anorectoplasty in patients with high imperforate anus provide superior fecal continence?

David P. Bliss, David Tapper, Judy M. Anderson, Robert T. Schaller, Edwin I. Hatch, Alan Morgan, Dale G. Hall, Robert S. Sawin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The posterior sagittal anorectoplasty (PSARP) has become the primary surgical procedure for patients with high imperforate anus. Very few careful long-term follow-up studies have established the superiority of the PSARP procedure over other surgical repair techniques. The authors' goal was to evaluate the operation and to identify the factors associated with improved continence. The medical records, operative reports, and radiographs of 53 patients (46 male, 7 female) who underwent PSARP for high imperforate anus at Children's Hospital and Medical Center (CHMC) between 1982 and 1990 were reviewed retrospectively. Subjective follow-up data were collected by telephone questionnaire, assessing habits indicative of stool continence, and a 'fecal continence score' (FCS) was calculated for each patient. A prospective, 7-day diary assessing similar patterns of fecal continence was completed by each patient's family. The mean age of the patients studied was 8.0 years, and the mean follow-up period was 6.8 years. The telephone questionnaire was completed for 48 patients (94%). Toilet training for bowel continence was successful in 20 patients (42%) and occasionally successful in another 20 patients (42%), but 8 patients (16%) had no awareness of impending stool. Forty-five (94%) were physically active, but 16 (33%) reported social problems related to offending odor. The mean fecal continence score for all patients was 3.0 ± 1.4 (5 = excellent, completely continent), which was nearly identical to published scores for the other types of surgical repair. The FCS did not improve with age. The parents' responses to the telephone questionnaire matched the results obtained from the prospectively collected continence diary data. The authors' results for PSARP in patients with high imperforate anus do not differ substantially from those achieved by other repair techniques. Previously cited prognostic factors such as fistula anatomy and sacral anomalies did not appear to alter the functional results in the authors' series. Aggressive postoperative bowel management should be anticipated in all patients who have high imperforate anus and may benefit those who otherwise would achieve less satisfactory continence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996


  • Posterior sagittal anorectoplasty
  • fecal continence
  • imperforate anus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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