Rectal prolapses refer to the prolapse of the rectum into the anal canal. They can involve the entire wall of the rectum or only the mucosal layer.
Rectal prolapse in Western populations is more common in females (M:F 1:4). In women, it is more common over the age of 50 years. In men, the incidence is relatively even over all age groups 1.
Patients may present with 1:
- prolapsing of the rectum through the anus
- fecal incontinence
- solitary rectal ulcer
The exact cause of rectal prolapse is unknown and is likely multifactorial 2. Anatomical factors such as the diastasis of the levator ani muscle, a patulous anus or a redundant sigmoid colon are frequently found in rectal prolapse patients 1.
Prolapse may be classified as 2:
- incomplete (internal): the rectum does not extrude through the anus
- mucosal: only the mucosal layer is prolapsed
- complete (external): the rectum extrudes through the anus
Diagnosis is often clinical if the prolapse can be seen on examination. Dynamic cystocolpoproctography can be used to confirm the diagnosis and can also reveal other associated defects or pelvic organ prolapse 3.
Treatment and prognosis
Surgery may be required in some cases with perineal and abdominal approaches existing 1. Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome may be a complication of rectal prolapse 3.
- 1. Yoon SG. Rectal prolapse: review according to the personal experience. (2011) Journal of the Korean Society of Coloproctology. 27 (3): 107-13. doi:10.3393/jksc.2011.27.3.107 - Pubmed
- 2. Lowry AC, Simmang CL, Boulos P, Farmer KC, Finan PJ, Hyman N, Killingback M, Lubowski DZ, Moore R, Penfold C, Savoca P, Stitz R, Tjandra JJ. Consensus statement of definitions for anorectal physiology and rectal cancer: report of the Tripartite Consensus Conference on Definitions for Anorectal Physiology and Rectal Cancer, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1999. (2001) Diseases of the colon and rectum. 44 (7): 915-9. Pubmed
- 3. Maglinte DD, Bartram CI, Hale DA, Park J, Kohli MD, Robb BW, Romano S, Lappas JC. Functional imaging of the pelvic floor. (2011) Radiology. 258 (1): 23-39. doi:10.1148/radiol.10092367 - Pubmed
Related Radiopaedia articles
- evacuation proctography (defecography)
- MR dynamic pelvis imaging
- related pathology