Anorectal Malformations

What are anorectal malformations?

Anorectal malformations are birth defects in which the anus and rectum (the lower end of the digestive tract) don’t develop properly. They occur in an estimated 1 in 4,000 newborns and can range from mild to complex.

Anorectal malformations include several different abnormalities, including:

  • The anal passage may be narrow.
  • A membrane may be present over the anal opening.
  • The rectum may not connect to the anus (imperforate anus).
  • The rectum may connect to a part of the urinary tract or the reproductive system through an abnormal passage called a fistula.

How we care for anorectal malformations

Anorectal malformations can be complex issues. The Colorectal and Pelvic Malformation Center at Boston Children’s Hospital includes a comprehensive team of colorectal surgeons, urologists, gynecologists and gastroenterologists who evaluate the problem using advanced diagnostic tests and then provide a coordinated plan of care for children with anorectal malformations. Because the surgery is only the first step for many of these children, the center not only offers reconstructive surgical care, but lifelong management of bowel, bladder and reproductive issues as well.

We offer therapies that are limited to only a few centers around the world, such as:

  • bowel management program
  • peristeen counseling
  • sacral nerve stimulation

Our team also includes nutritionists, psychologists and other experts to improve the quality of life for each child entrusted to our care.