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Caring for your child after surgery for anorectal malformation

After-surgical care for an anorectal malformation is also known as anal dilation or post-surgical care for anorectal malformation.

What are important things to know after my child has surgery for an anorectal malformation?

If your child has a colostomy, it is usually closed 2 to 3 months after the anorectal malformation surgery to create a new anal opening was completed. This is usually performed while the child is still in the hospital.

Do I want my child’s stool to be loose after anorectal malformation surgery?

  • Your child may have more liquid stools after surgery to avoid constipation.
  • Good skin care during this time after surgery is important.
  • You will work with your pediatric colorectal surgeon and multidisciplinary team to get timed and bulky stools that avoid constipation as your child works toward toilet training.

What do I do about diaper rash after this surgery?

We work closely with the Wound Care team and instruct families in how to prevent and treat diaper rash.

Do I need to take special care of the newly created anal opening?

Some families are instructed to perform anal dilations a few weeks after surgery to care for the new anal opening. Your doctor will instruct you if your child needs to have dilations performed after surgery.

What are the benefits of performing anal dilation?

Anal dilation helps to stretch the size of the newly created anal opening (anoplasty or anus) and may be important after surgery to prevent the body from forming scar tissue, which could potentially narrow the anal opening around the new surgical site. Based on the latest research, we do not believe every child needs these dilations. Please speak with your child’s surgeon for specific recommendations.

The Comprehensive Colorectal Center at Children's Mercy

Discussion of surgical and management options are best done with the help of a multidisciplinary team such as the one available at the Comprehensive Colorectal Center at Children's Mercy.

Contact us at (816) 234-3151 to learn more about the services we can offer you and your child.