Purpose: Since pediatric surgeons aim to follow their patients with anorectal malformations (ARM) into adulthood the aim of this study was to investigate how pediatric surgeons deal with sexual issues related to ARM.
Methods: In 2018, a questionnaire was developed by the working group "Follow-up and sexuality" of the ARM-Net consortium and sent to all consortium-linked pediatric surgeons from 31 European pediatric surgical centers. Obtained data were statistically analyzed.
Results: Twenty-eight of 37 pediatric surgeons (18 males/10 females) answered the questionnaire. The majority of pediatric surgeons (82%) think they should talk about sexual issues with their patient. More than 50% of pediatric surgeons do not feel at all or only moderately confident discussing the topic of sexuality. Most pediatric surgeons require more support (96%) and wish to be trained in sexuality and sexual issues (78%) to feel confident towards their ARM-patients/parents. For optimal care, sexual issues with ARM-patients should be managed by a multidisciplinary team.
Conclusions: Pediatric surgeons feel that sexuality is an important issue for their ARM-patients, which they are primarily responsible of but should be managed in concert with a multidisciplinary team. A training in sexuality is wished to feel more confident about this specific issue.
Keywords: ARM-Net; Adolescence; Anorectal malformation; Sexual functioning; Sexuality; Training.