Background: The aetiology, surgical management and outcome in 15 patients with anorectal incontinence due to internal and sphincter (IAS) deficiency as a result of previous anal surgery (n = 14) or penetrating trauma (n = 1) was studied.
Methods: The degree of anorectal incontinence was scored by the Cleveland Clinic system; median score was 14 (range 11-16) before surgery. In all patients the anal sphincter mechanism was assessed by endoanal ultrasonography. Thirteen of the 15 patients underwent either rotation (n = 5), island (n = 5) or advancement (n = 3) anoplasty to correct the contour defect in the anal canal. In the remaining two patients direct IAS repair was performed.
Results: Four of the 13 patients who underwent anoplasty developed wound breakdown as the result of infection (n = 3) or inadvertent suture removal (n = 1). A defunctioning stoma was required in three of these patients but all of these have been closed. At median follow-up of 34 (range 6-72) months, all patients who underwent anoplasty have normal defaecatory control and a median continence score of 2 (range 0-4). Direct IAS repair produced no symptomatic improvement in either patient.
Conclusion: These results suggest that anoplasty deserves further evaluation in the treatment of anorectal incontinence due to discrete IAS defects, but that the place of IAS repair remains uncertain.