PURPOSE: This study was designed to determine whether advancing age affects outcome after anal sphincter reconstruction.
METHOD: Anal sphincter reconstruction, performed on patients 55 years of age and older, was reviewed to determine if functional outcome was adversely affected by advancing age. A subgroup of patients was studied with anal manometry before and after repair and with pudendal nerve terminal motor latency (PNTML) before surgery. Results were compared with a younger group of patients.
RESULTS: Between July 1986 and July 1991, 14 patients, ages ranging from 55 to 81, underwent anal sphincter reconstruction using an overlapping muscle repair. Ten patients were incontinent of solid stool and four of liquid stool. Improvement was seen in 13 of 14 patients: 7 (50 percent) complete control, 3 (21 percent) incontinent to flatus, and 4 (29 percent) incontinent to liquid stools (including the patient who failed to improve). Ten patients were studied with a continuous pull-out manometric technique and PNTML: one was not improved. There was minimum change in mean maximum resting pressure (35.0-37.9 mmHg). Mean maximum squeezing pressure increased from 66 to 75 mmHg overall. Patients with complete control had a mean maximum squeezing pressure of 81 mmHg compared with 60 mmHg in patients with residual incontinence. Mean anterior anal sphincter length increased from 2.92 cm to 331 cm. PNTML was normal (2.0+/-0.2) on one or both sides in all nine patients who improved (average, 2.1). The patient who failed to improve had abnormal nerve function bilaterally (2.4, 2.7).
CONCLUSION: Anal sphincter reconstruction can be performed in elderly patients with improvements in the majority of patients. Total control can be achieved by restoring maximum squeezing pressure in a patient with normal pudendal nerve function.
(C) The ASCRS 1994