International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 231–243 | Cite as

Rectal prolapse




Rectal prolapse, or procidentia, is defined as a protrusion of the rectum beyond the anus. It commonly occurs at the extremes of age. Rectal prolapse frequently coexists with other pelvic floor disorders, and patients have symptoms associated with combined rectal and genital prolapse. Few patients, a lack of randomized trials and difficulties in the interpretation of studies of anorectal physiology have made the understanding of this disorder difficult.

Methods of treatment

Surgical management is aimed at restoring physiology by correcting the prolapse and improving continence and constipation, whereas in patients with concurrent genital and rectal prolapse, an interdisciplinary surgical approach is required. Operation should be reserved for those patients in whom medical treatment has failed, and it may be expected to relieve symptoms. Numerous surgical procedures have been suggested to treat rectal prolapse. They are generally classified as abdominal or perineal according to the route of access. However, the controversy as to which operation is appropriate cannot be answered definitively, as the extent of a standardized diagnostic assessment and the types of surgical procedures have not been identified in published series.

Literature review

This review encompasses rectal prolapse, including aetiology, symptoms and treatment. The English-language literature about rectal prolapse was identified using Medline, and additional cited works not detected in the initial search were obtained. Articles reporting on prospective and retrospective comparisons and case reports were included.


Rectal prolapse Aetiology Symptoms Surgery 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Attachment in Division of General Surgery and OncologyRoyal Liverpool University HospitalLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.First Surgical Department‘Evangelismos’ General Hospital of AthensAthensGreece

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