Associations of defecography and physiologic findings in male patients with rectocele

H H Chen, A Iroatulam, O Alabaz, E G Weiss, J J Nogueras, S D Wexner
Techniques in Coloproctology 2001, 5 (3): 157-61
This study evaluated the incidence and physiological findings in male patients with rectoceles. All defecographic studies were evaluated by a single colorectal surgeon. After diagnosis of rectocele in male patients, the patient's history, symptoms, and physiologic tests (anal manometry, pudendal nerve terminal motor latency [PNTML], assessment and electromyography [EMG]) were studied. A prominent rectocele was defined as one that did not empty during defecography and was associated with outlet obstructive syndrome. Forty (17%) rectoceles were diagnosed in 234 male patients with evacuatory disorders who underwent defecography. Rectoceles were anterior in 19 (48%) and posterior in 21 (52%) patients. The main complaint was constipation with difficult defecation in 33 (83%), followed by rectal pain in 5 (13%), rectal prolapse in 1 (3%), and incontinence in 1 (3%). Previous prostatic surgery had been performed in 16 (40%) patients. The mean age and duration of symptoms were 72.4 years (range, 30-88) and 10.3 years (range, 0.5-70), respectively. Excessive straining during evacuation was noted in 73%, unilateral or bilateral pudendal neuropathy in 24.5%, paradoxical puborectalis contraction in 49% and abnormal EMG in 11% of patients. Higher resting pressures with a mean 3.9 cm high pressure zone were noted in 29% of patients. The accompanying findings in defecography were, non-relaxing or partially relaxing puborectalis muscle (66%), perineal descent (65%), intussusception (23%), and sigmoidocele (15%). None of the patients underwent surgery for rectocele alone. In conclusion, rectocele is uncommon in males; it rarely appears as an isolated dysfunction as it is often associated with functional disorders of the pelvic floor. There is a frequent association between rectocele and prostatectomy. Clinical significance and therapeutic strategy remain unknown.

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