BACKGROUND: New ultrasound techniques may complement current diagnostic tools, and combined techniques may help to overcome the limitations of individual techniques for the diagnosis of anorectal dysfunction. A high degree of agreement has been demonstrated between echodefecography (dynamic 3-dimensional anorectal ultrasonography) and conventional defecography.
OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to evaluate the ability of a combined approach consisting of dynamic 3-dimensional transvaginal and transrectal ultrasonography by using a 3-dimensional biplane endoprobe to assess posterior pelvic floor dysfunctions related to obstructed defecation syndrome in comparison with echodefecography.
DESIGN AND SETTING: This was a prospective, observational cohort study conducted at a tertiary-care hospital.
PATIENTS: Consecutive female patients with symptoms of obstructed defecation were eligible.
INTERVENTION: Each patient underwent assessment of posterior pelvic floor dysfunctions with a combination of dynamic 3-dimensional transvaginal and transrectal ultrasonography by using a biplane transducer and with echodefecography.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Kappa (κ) was calculated as an index of agreement between the techniques. Diagnostic accuracy (sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values) of the combined technique in detection of posterior dysfunctions was assessed with echodefecography as the standard for comparison.
RESULTS: A total of 33 women were evaluated. Substantial agreement was observed regarding normal relaxation and anismus. In detecting the absence or presence of rectocele, the 2 methods agreed in all cases. Near-perfect agreement was found for rectocele grade I, grade II, and grade III. Perfect agreement was found for entero/sigmoidocele, with near-perfect agreement for rectal intussusception. Using echodefecography as the standard for comparison, we found high diagnostic accuracy of transvaginal and transrectal ultrasonography in the detection of posterior dysfunctions.
LIMITATIONS: This combined technique should be compared with other dynamic techniques and validated with conventional defecography.
CONCLUSIONS: Dynamic 3-dimensional transvaginal and transrectal ultrasonography is a simple and fast ultrasound technique that shows strong agreement with echodefecography and may be used as an alternative method to assess patients with obstructed defecation syndrome.