Colonic motility before surgery for rectal prolapse




Abdominal rectopexy remains the operation of choice for patients with rectal prolapse. Recurrence rates are low but the functional results are poor. Hindgut motility was measured before abdominal rectopexy to determine whether an underlying neuropathy might explain these poor results.


Seven women of mean(s.d.) age 56(10) years had a multilumen catheter inserted in the colon before abdominal rectopexy. Colonic intraluminal pressure was recorded for a mean(s.d.) of 19(3) h; the number of peaks over 5 and 50 mmHg, motility and high-amplitude propagated contractions (HAPCs) were measured before and after a meal and compared with the findings in five controls.


Patients had high numbers of contractions greater than 5 mmHg and high motility before meals. Controls responded to meals by increasing motility, unlike patients. HAPCs were seen in one patient but in all controls.


These data show that patients with rectal prolapse have a hindgut motility abnormality before abdominal rectopexy, similar to that observed in spinal cord injury. This may explain the poor functional results after surgery, offering a rationale for colonic resection. © 1999 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd