Purpose: Many centers perform a one-stage pull-through procedure for Hirschsprung's disease (HD) diagnosed in infancy. The authors have developed a one-stage pullthrough procedure using a transanal approach that eliminates the need for intraabdominal dissection.
Methods: Nine children aged 3 weeks to 18 months with biopsy-proven HD underwent a transanal pull-through procedure over a 13-month period. A rectal mucosectomy was performed starting 0.5 cm proximal to the dentate line, and extending proximally to the level of the intraperitoneal rectum. In the first eight children, intraperitoneal position was confirmed with a laparoscope placed through a 3- to 5-mm port in the base of the umbilicus. The muscular sleeve was divided circumferentially to allow full-thickness mobilization of the rectosigmoid junction. Manual transanal traction permitted direct visualization and division of mesenteric vessels with transanal mobilization above the transition zone. Ganglion cells were confirmed by frozen section, and the bowel was transected. The rectal muscular cuff was divided longitudinally, and the anastomosis was completed. The laparoscope confirmed orientation and adequate hemostasis. In a ninth patient, the identical procedure was performed, but with the laparoscope used only for confirmation at the end of the procedure.
Results: Operative time, including frozen sections, averaged 194 minutes (range, 169 to 250 minutes), and the average length of bowel resected was 12 cm (range, 7.5 to 22 cm). Four of the nine patients were discharged on postoperative day (POD) 1, four on POD 2, and one patient with Down's syndrome was discharged on POD 6. Median follow-up was 6 months (range, 3 to 14 months). One death occurred 2.5 months postoperatively secondary to sudden infant death syndrome. Complications included postoperative apnea spells (n = 1), mild enterocolitis (n = 2), constipation (n = 1), anastomotic stricture(n = 1), and muscularcuff narrowing (n = 1); each responded to nonoperative management. Stool output has ranged from four to eight per day.
Conclusion: A one-stage pull-through for HD can be performed successfully using a transanal approach without intraperitoneal dissection. This procedure is associated with excellent clinical results and permits early postoperative feeding, early hospital discharge, and no visible scars.