Fecal Incontinence Surgery

The following surgical options are available to patients of the Anorectal Disorders Program:

  • Artificial bowel sphincter: this procedure requires general anesthesia and several days in the hospital. Only patients with severe incontinence undergo this procedure due to relatively high rates of infection experienced with this procedure. Surgeons place an implantable silicone around the anal canal so that the patient can inflate and deflate the cuff to defecate.
  • Sphincteroplasty (sphincter repair): this procedure is recommended if a patient has a distinct defect or scar in the sphincter muscle, usually caused by vaginal delivery. Using minimally invasive techniques, surgeons remove the scar and overlap the edges of the tissue around the scar. Muscles are then re-sewn and non-scarred muscles rejoined. This procedure requires general anesthesia and several days in the hospital. Full recovery from this surgery takes five weeks to three months.
  • Stoma: if fecal incontinence is severe, some patients choose to have a stoma. In this procedure, surgeons put the end of the colon through the abdominal wall. Stool is then collected in a bag attached to the abdomen outside the body.
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