01.06.2005 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 6/2005
Incontinence After a Lateral Internal Sphincterotomy: Are We Underestimating It?
Diseases of the Colon & Rectum
- M.D. Sergio Casillas, M.D. Tracy L. Hull, M.D. Massarat Zutshi, M.D. Radzislaw Trzcinski, R.N. Jane F. Bast, M.S. Meng Xu
This study was designed to assess the long-term outcomes and quality of life of patients who have undergone a sphincterotomy for chronic anal fissure.
The medical records of patients who underwent this operation between 1992 and 2001 were reviewed. A questionnaire was mailed to assess their current status, along with the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life and Fecal Incontinence Severity Index surveys.
A total of 298 patients were identified (158 males; 53 percent; mean age, 46.9 years; mean follow-up, 4.3 years). Postal survey response was 62 percent. Recurrence of the fissure occurred in 17 patients (5.6 percent) of whom 9 (52 percent) were females. Significant factors that resulted in recurrence were initial sphincterotomy performed in the office and local anesthesia (P < 0.001). When comparing office records and response to the postal survey, significantly more patients had flatal incontinence than that recorded in their medical records (P < 0.001). Twenty-nine percent of females who had a vaginal delivery recorded problems with incontinence to flatus (P = 0.04). Temporary incontinence was reported in 31 percent of patients and persistent incontinence to gas occurred in 30 percent. Stool incontinence was not a significant finding. The overall quality-of-life scores were in the normal range, whereas the median Fecal Incontinence Severity Index score was 12.
Recurrence after lateral internal sphincterotomy may be higher after local anesthesia or office procedure. Females who have two or more previous vaginal deliveries should be warned about possible flatal incontinence. Long-term flatal incontinence that is not reported to the caregiver may occur in up to one-third of patients and could be permanent.