Anorectal injuries in children: a 20-year experience in two centers
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- Samuk, I., Steiner, Z., Feigin, E. et al. Pediatr Surg Int (2015) 31: 815. doi:10.1007/s00383-015-3746-4
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Anorectal injuries in children are not frequently reported and their management is challenging. This report reviews the experience in managing this type of injuries in two medical centers over 20 years.
An institutional database search for patients who were treated for anorectal injuries between 1994 and 2015 was undertaken. Twenty cases were located and medical records reviewed. This study was conducted with institutional review board approval (#572-14).
There were 6 girls and 14 boys with ages ranging between 1 and 15 years (mean 7 years). Eleven patients sustained penetrating trauma, while nine sustained blunt trauma. The mechanism of injury was variable and associated injuries were more common in blunt trauma. Most common presenting symptoms were rectal bleeding (n = 12) and anal pain (n = 11), followed by abdominal pain in six patients. Eighteen anorectal injuries were extraperitoneal and two intraperitoneal. Among patients with extraperitoneal injuries, 12/18 were managed by primary repair with (6) or without (6) fecal diversion and 2/18 by wound irrigation and drainage with fecal diversion and delayed repair. Four patients had superficial anal and perineal injuries that were irrigated and left to heal by secondary intention. Two patients with intraperitoneal rectal injuries underwent primary repair with fecal diversion. Follow-up period ranged from 2 weeks to 8 years (mean 2 years). There were three cases of wound infection, one case of suture line leak requiring reoperation and one case of vesicorectal fistula in a patient with combined trauma of the rectum and urinary bladder. There was no mortality. Fecal continence was preserved in all patients available for follow-up evaluation.
Primary repair of the perineal wound and anal sphincters can be performed safely in most cases given hemodynamic stability. Fecal diversion should be saved for cases with severe perineal involvement or cases with substantial associated injuries and concern of gross contamination.