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    Obstetric anal sphincter injury (OASI) is a common preventable cause of anal incontinence. Both diagnosis and primary repair of OASI are often suboptimal, partly owing to the absence of effective clinical audit. The aim of this study was to evaluate the location of scars or defects of the external anal sphincter (EAS), diagnosed by translabial ultrasound (TLUS), following primary OASI repair. This was a retrospective analysis of 309 women who were seen at a tertiary obstetric unit after primary repair of OASI between June 2012 and May 2019. All women underwent a standardized interview, including St Mark's incontinence score, followed by clinical examination and TLUS assessment within 2-9 months after OASI repair. Postprocessing of TLUS volume datasets was performed by an investigator who was blinded to all other information. Tomographic ultrasound imaging was used to evaluate the presence of a scar or defect in the proximal and distal parts of the EAS. Women were classified into four groups according to the imaging findings: (1) no visible defect or distortion (likely false positive); (2) only proximal OASI; (3) only distal OASI; and (4) both proximal and distal OASI. Of the 309 women seen during the study period, 34 were excluded because they were referred for reasons other than recent (< 1 year) OASI, 16 owing to missing data and four owing to poor image quality, leaving 255 patients for analysis. Women were seen on average 0.25 ± 0.1 years after the index birth, and their mean age at delivery was 29.1 ± 4.6 years. Anal incontinence was reported by 97 (38.0%) women. A scar or defect was seen only in the proximal part of the EAS in 64 (25.1%) women and only in the distal part in 19 (7.5%) (P < 0.001). In 165 (64.7%) women, the damage affected both the proximal and distal EAS. EAS scars after primary OASI repair commonly affect the entire length of the EAS; however, partial tears seem to be more likely to occur proximally. © 2021 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. © 2021 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.


    H P Dietz, M Kreft, N Subramaniam, K Robledo. Location of obstetric anal sphincter injury scars on translabial tomographic ultrasound. Ultrasound in obstetrics & gynecology : the official journal of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2021 Oct;58(4):630-633

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    PMID: 34170050

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