Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 431–437 | Cite as

Laparoscopic approach in the management of anorectal malformations

  • Andrea BischoffEmail author
  • Bruno Martinez-Leo
  • Alberto Peña
Review Article


Seventeen years have passed since the first description of the laparoscopic approach for anorectal malformation and approximately 68 articles have been published on the subject. In this review article, we aim to describe the advantages as well as the indications and contraindications of this approach when dealing with each specific type of anorectal malformation, according to what has been described in the literature and to our own experience. The ideal and undisputable indication for laparoscopy remains for cases in which the abdomen needs to be entered to repair the malformation. Only 10 % of male patients with anorectal malformation are born with a recto-bladder neck fistula that requires an abdominal approach, this represents an ideal indication for laparoscopy. In females, only the complex cloacae with a common channel length greater than 3 cm are the ones that require a laparotomy; they represent about 30 % of the cloacae. However, the repair of this type of cloacae also requires sophisticated and technically demanding maneuvers that have never been done laparoscopically. In cases of recto-urethral prostatic fistulas the malformation can be repaired either way: laparoscopically or posterior sagitally. In all other malformations: recto-perineal fistula, recto-urethral bulbar fistula, anorectal malformation without fistula, rectal atresia, recto-vestibular fistula; no justification for laparoscopy could be found; and in some cases, laparoscopy is contraindicated. In the published reports, there is no evidence supporting the idea that laparoscopic repair results in better functional results when compared with non-laparoscopic operation; there is a tendency to omit information relevant to bowel control such as the characteristics of the sacrum and the presence or absence of tethered cord; and most authors do not compare results between comparable malformations.


Anorectal malformation Imperforate anus Laparoscopic repair 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Bischoff
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bruno Martinez-Leo
    • 1
  • Alberto Peña
    • 1
  1. 1.Colorectal Center for Children, Division of Pediatric SurgeryCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA

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