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Rectal atresia (RA) and rectal stenosis (RS) are rare anomalies with varied treatment options. A thorough literature review was done on reported cases/series of RA and RS. Based on evidence from cases managed over last 15 years, new insights into embryology were hypothesized. A comprehensive review was compiled with updated knowledge on diagnosis and management. RA is classified into five types I: II: III: IV: V as RS: RA with septal defect: RA with a fibrous cord between two atretic ends: RA with a gap: Multiple RA and/or RS. Current definitive surgical repair of these anomalies preserves the anal canal, dentate line, and sphincter complex. Most neonates with RA undergo sigmoid colostomy except few with RS who can rarely decompress adequately. Membranous RS and septal RA may seldom respond to dilatation or be amenable to transanal repair. Posterior sagittal anorectoplasty with an end-to-end/side repair is recommended for RA and most intramural RS. RS may be associated with a presacral mass and colonic/rectal motility disorders. The expected postoperative outcome is good if the normally developed anal sphincter complex is retained undamaged. Early recognition of the type of anomaly is necessary for appropriate management.


Shilpa Sharma, Devendra K Gupta. Varied facets of rectal atresia and rectal stenosis. Pediatric surgery international. 2017 Aug;33(8):829-836

PMID: 28601898

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