PURPOSE: This study was designed to evaluate the results of rectocele repair and parameters that might be useful in selecting patients for this operation.
METHODS: Twentyfive patients with symptom-giving rectoceles were prospectively evaluated with a standardized questionnaire, physical examination, defecography, colon transit studies, anorectal manometry, and electrophysiology. Patients underwent posterior colporrhaphy and perineorrhaphy. They were followed postoperatively (mean, 1.0 year) with the same questionnaire, physical examination, defecography, anorectal manometry, and electrophysiology.
RESULTS: Constipation had improved postoperatively in 21 of 24 constipated patients (88 percent). At postoperative follow-up 13 patients (52 percent) had no constipation symptoms, 8 (32 percent) had occasional symptoms, and 4 (16 percent) had symptoms more than once per week. Four patients with rectocele at preoperative defecography, but not at physical examination, had favorable outcomes following surgery. The majority of patients not using vaginal digitalization preoperatively had improved with respect to constipation. All patients with pathologic transit studies had various degrees of constipation postoperatively. Constipation was not improved in two of five patients with preoperative paradoxic sphincter reaction.
CONCLUSIONS: Rectocele is one cause of constipation that can be treated with good results. Preoperative use of vaginal digitalization is not mandatory for a good postoperative result. Defecography is an important complement to physical examination. Patients with pathologic transit study might have a less favorable outcome of rectocele repair with respect to constipation. More studies about the significance of paradoxic sphincter reaction in these patients are indicated.
(C) The ASCRS 1995