Rectal prolapse surgery: When it is necessary?

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Rectal prolapse surgery: When it is necessary?

Question

Is surgery always necessary for rectal prolapse in adults?

Sharon
Illinois

Answer

Rectal prolapse occurs when the lining of the rectum collapses into or protrudes through the anal opening. Mild cases of rectal prolapse may not require surgery. But surgery is the most effective way to repair significant prolapse in adults.

Treatment of mild rectal prolapse is typically directed at dietary changes to reduce constipation and straining during a bowel movement. Your doctor may also recommend a stool softener.

Treatment of severe rectal prolapse may include surgery. There are two basic surgical approaches for rectal prolapse:

  • Abdominal procedure. An incision is made in the abdomen, and part of the large intestine (colon) is removed. The surgeon may also suture the rectum to surrounding tissue. Sometimes, a soft piece of mesh is wrapped around the rectum to keep it in place.
  • Perineal procedure. This approach is similar to the abdominal procedure except the incision is made in the perineum — the area between the genitals and the anus.

Surgery is usually effective in repairing rectal prolapse. However, potential complications include constipation and fecal incontinence. Rectal prolapse also may recur.

Last Updated: 11/15/2006
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