Anal Atresia Definition
Diagnosis typically takes place within 24 to 48 hours following birth, with the passage of, or failure to have, the first BOWEL MOVEMENT. Complete anal atresia requires immediate surgery to create a means for the body to pass stool; often the surgeon creates a temporary COLOSTOMY (opening from the large intestine through the abdominal wall) until the infant can undergo any necessary reconstructive surgery. When partial anal atresia is present, the anus may open into another structure such as the VAGINA or URETHRA.
Partial anal atresia also requires surgical repair. After surgical reconstruction of the anus many infants have normal bowel function. However some infants have damage to, or are missing, the nerves that regulate the anal sphincter, with resulting FECAL INCONTINENCE. Anal atresia often occurs in combination with other congenital anomalies, notably NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS.