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Injection sclerotherapy in the treatment of rectal prolapse in infants and children.

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of injection sclerotherapy as treatment for persistent rectal prolapse.

METHODS: The records of 28 patients with rectal prolapse treated with injection sclerotherapy over a 16-year period were reviewed. Initial management included assessment and correction of predisposing factors. If rectal prolapse persisted or if the prolapse required repeat emergency or operating room reduction, injection sclerotherapy was performed. The sclerosing agent included D50W in 21 patients (sole agent in 15, combined with ethanolamine oleate in four, and with phenol 5% in two). Phenol 5% alone was used in six patients, and 25% saline was used in one patient. Number of injections, recurrences, and complications were reviewed.

RESULTS: Two patients were lost to follow-up, and one patient was cured once a polyp was recognized and removed. Of the remaining 25 patients, 21 were cured. Sixteen required one injection, three required two injections, and two required three injections (64% cure rate after one injection, 84% cure rate after three injections). There were 4 of 25 failures: two went on to low anterior resection after having failed two injections each; one patient was treated with Thiersch cerclage and injection after two failed injections; and one patient did not respond after three injections but had less severe prolapses. Of those injected with D50W alone, 13 of 14 were cured with injection sclerotherapy. Nine received one injection, two received two injections, and two received three injections (64% cure rate after one injection, 93% cure rate after three injections). The only complication was excessive oozing at the injection site in one patient. He was simply observed in hospital overnight. Follow-up averaged 33 months. The only significant underlying abnormality in our patient population was spina bifida in one patient. This patient was cured with injection therapy. Cystic fibrosis was ruled out by clinical examination and sweat chloride test in all patients. Constipation was the most common condition identified with the onset of rectal prolapse (15 of 28).

CONCLUSIONS: Injection sclerotherapy is simple and should be considered as the first line treatment of recurrent rectal prolapse after failure of conservative measures. D50W is effective, easily available, inexpensive, and associated with few complications.

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