Eur J Pediatr Surg 2020; 30(05): 413-419
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1716729
Review Article

Surgical Interventions for Functional Constipation: An Update

1  Deparment of Pediatric Surgery, Urogenital and Colorectal Unit, La Paz University Hospital Children Hospital, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
Marc A. Levitt
2  Department of Pediatric Surgery, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia, United States
› Author Affiliations


Chronic idiopathic constipation, also known as functional constipation, is defined as difficult and infrequent defecation without an identifiable organic cause. Medical management with laxatives is effective for the majority of constipated children. However there is a subset of patients who may need evaluation by a surgeon. As constipation progresses, it can lead to fecal retention and rectal and sigmoid distension, which impairs normal colorectal motility. Surgical interventions are influenced by the results of: a rectal biopsy, transit studies, the presence of megacolon/megarectum on contrast enema, the degree of soiling/incontinence, anorectal manometry findings, and colonic motility evaluation. In this review, we describe the different surgical options available (intestinal diversion, antegrade enemas, sacral nerve stimulation, colonic resections, and Botulinum toxin injection) and provide guidance on how to choose the best procedure for a given patient.

Publication History

Received: 09 August 2020

Accepted: 17 August 2020

Publication Date:
28 September 2020 (online)

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