Total colonic aganglionosis

Semin Pediatr Surg. 1998 Aug;7(3):174-80. doi: 10.1016/s1055-8586(98)70014-9.


The authors describe the genetic, pathophysiology, diagnostic, and therapeutic aspects of total colonic aganglionosis and of aganglionosis extending to the small intestine. The pathogenesis of this disease is genetically determined and is related to the differentiation and migration of cells derived from neural crests. The clinical and radiological features can be useful in the diagnosis but they are not pathognomonic. The histochemical estimation of acetylcholinesterase activity in suction rectal biopsies is useful in establishing the diagnosis; however, the specimens should be examined by an experienced pathologist. The definitive diagnosis of either condition is obtained by performing intraoperative seromuscular biopsies of the rectum, colon, and ileum. From the therapeutic point of view, many surgical techniques have been proposed for the radical treatment of this disease. Some of the techniques have been derived from operations proposed for the treatment of classic Hirschsprung's disease; others have been specifically designed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hirschsprung Disease* / diagnosis
  • Hirschsprung Disease* / physiopathology
  • Hirschsprung Disease* / surgery
  • Humans