Are problems common after pull-through surgery?
While surgical outcomes are generally excellent after pull-through surgery, Hirschsprung-associated enterocolitis (HAEC), or enterocolitis, is an inflammation of the colon that can occur. Enterocolitis can happen before or after surgery and can make your child very sick. Enterocolitis is usually treated with antibiotics and rectal irrigation.
Please always call your doctor’s office immediately if your child has Hirschsprung disease, or has recently had pull-through surgery, and you suspect an infection.
Symptoms of enterocolitis include:
- A swollen tummy
- Bleeding from the bottom
- Diarrhea, especially foul-smelling
- Lack of energy
Constipation is another common problem that many children have after pull-through surgery. Constipation usually can be managed with medicines and laxatives.
Your surgeon and the team at the Comprehensive Colorectal Center are experienced at assessing and managing issues following pull-through surgery. This may require an examination under anesthesia with additional studies and testing. Sometimes a redo-surgery is recommended. During this evaluation we will determine:
- Previous surgery performed (Soave, Swenson, Duhamel)
- Current anatomy
- Length of the colon
- Blockages to current anatomy (strictures, cuffs of scar tissue)
- Condition of the sphincters
- Condition of the nerves of the colon
These complex surgeries are best done with the help of a multidisciplinary team such as the one available at the Comprehensive Colorectal Center at Children’s Mercy.