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Rectal Prolapse

What is rectal prolapse?

Rectal prolapse is a condition in which the rectum (the last part of the large intestine before it exits the anus) telescopes out through the anus thereby turning itself “inside out." It can be quite embarrassing and often has a significant negative impact on quality of life.

Rectal prolapse


Overall, rectal prolapse affects relatively few people (2.5 cases/100,000 people).  This condition affects mostly adults, and women over 50 years of age are six times as likely as men to develop rectal prolapse. Most women with rectal prolapse are in their 60’s, while the few men who develop prolapse are much younger, averaging 40 years of age or less.  In these younger patients, there is higher rate of autism, developmental delay, and psychiatric problems requiring multiple medications.

What are the causes?

The rectum is normal held in place by a complex support system made up of muscles and ligaments. Many factors could contribute to the loss or weakening of these attachments and include: multiple childbirth, pelvic surgery, chronic constipation and connective tissue disorders.


How is rectal prolapse treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the prolapse, impact on the patient's quality of life and their fitness of surgery. An operation is the only definitive treatment and can be performed  through the tummy or from the bottom (through the anus). The most widely used tummy operation is Laparoscopic Ventral Rectopexy

Can surgery be performed without a general anaesthetic?

If you are having a perilal operation (through the bottom), it is possible to use a spinal anaesthetic which numbs your body from waist down allowing the operation to be performed while you are awake


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