Anorectal malformations are birth defects where the anus and rectum (the lower end of the digestive tract) do not develop properly.
During a bowel movement, stool passes from the large intestine to the rectum and then to the anus. Muscles in the anal area help to control when a bowel movement occurs. Nerves in the area help the individual sense the need for a bowel movement and also stimulate muscle activity.
With an anorectal malformation, several abnormalities can occur, including the following: 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.
A comprehensive level of care
Anorectal malformations can be complex issues. The General Surgery Program at Boston Children's Hospital evaluates and treats infants afflicted with these types of birth defects.
Using state-of-the-art operative methods-including open procedures, minimally invasive surgery, and endoscopic techniques-we strive to improve the quality of life for each child entrusted to our care.