Rectal prolapse occurs when part of the large intestine’s lowest section (rectum) slips outside the muscular opening at the end of the digestive tract (anus). The prolapsed rectum can cause fecal incontinence. Surgery is usually needed to treat rectal prolapse.
Surgeons examine the entire pelvis to determine the extent of your rectal prolapse and whether you need surgery.
In its early stages, rectal prolapse may be treated with stool softeners, suppositories and other medications. But most people need surgery to repair rectal prolapse.
The type of surgery you have depends on the extent of the rectal prolapse. We use these procedures:
- Perineal proctectomy (Altemeier or modified Delorme procedure). The surgeon removes the prolapsed rectum via an incision in the protruding rectum. Perineal proctectomy can be performed using a regional anesthetic, which reduces the risk of complications and speeds your recovery.
- Sigmoid resection and rectopexy. The surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen and removes the sigmoid colon, the part of the large intestine closest to the rectum and anus. The rectopexy procedure anchors the rectum to a bony structure attached to the lower spine and pelvis (sacrum). In most cases it is possible to perform this operation using minimally invasive surgery, which results in smaller incisions and a shorter hospital stay than does conventional surgery.