Rectal prolapse can be associated with fecal incontinence (FI) that may not completely resolve after surgical treatment. We aimed to examine the utility of endoanal ultrasonography (EAUS) in identifying the pattern of anal sphincter injury in rectal prolapse and in predicting the improvement in continence state after surgical treatment.
Records of patients of rectal prolapse who underwent surgical treatment and were evaluated with EAUS before surgery were screened. According to the degree of anal sphincter injury preoperative EAUS, 4 grades of anal sphincter injury were recognized (0 to III). The preoperative patient characteristics and outcome of surgery in each group were compared.
Fifty-nine patients (33 male), mean age 36.2 years, were included in the study. Forty-four (74.5%) patients complained of FI preoperatively. There were 12 (20.3%) patients with grade 0 injury, 29 (49.1%) with grade I, 7 (11.8%) with grade II, and 11 (18.6%) with grade III. Patients with grade III presented more with external rectal prolapse had a significantly longer duration of symptoms and had undergone previous surgery for rectal prolapse significantly more than the patients of the other 3 grades. Patients with grade II and grade III anal sphincter injury had significantly higher incontinence scores and lower anal pressures than grade 0 and grade I patients.
Preoperative EAUS is a useful tool for the assessment of anal sphincter injury in patients with rectal prolapse and for predicting improvement in FI after surgical treatment as higher grades of sphincter injury were associated with less improvement in continence than lower grades.