Preservation of continence after ileoanal anastomosis by the coordination of ileal pouch and anal canal motor activity

Andrea Ferrara, John H. Pemberton, Russell B. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Nocturnal incontinence may occur after ileoanal anastomosis and may be related to loss of an effective anal canal pressure barrier during sleep; how pressure and contractions in the proximal bowel influence this barrier is unknown. Our aim was to evaluate the relationship between anal canal pressure and contractions and contractile activity of the pouch in continent subjects after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) and of the rectum in normal controls. A fully ambulatory system for 24-hour pressure recording was used. A flexible transducer catheter was introduced endoscopically so that sensors were at 2, 3, 8, 12, 16, and 24 cm from the anal orifice in 12 healthy controls (7 men, 5 women, mean age: 35 years) and 7 fully continent IPAA patients (4 men, 3 women, mean age: 34 years) more than 12 months postoperatively. Twenty-four hour spontaneous motor activity was stored in a 2.5 megabyte (MB) digital portable recorder. Mean anal canal pressure was calculated, and rectal motor complexes and ileal pouch large pressure waves were characterized. During sleep, resting anal canal pressures were similar in the two groups (72 ± 12 mm Hg in controls versus 66 ± 9 mm Hg in IPAA patients [mean ± standard deviation (SD)], p = NS), but anal canal pressure showed cyclic relaxations (periodicity: 95 ± 11 min in controls, 54 ± 18 min in IPAA patients, p < 0.05), during which the mean pressure trough was 15 ± 4 mm Hg in controls and 14 ± 5 mm Hg in IPAA patients (p = NS). In the control patients, during sleep, a mean of six rectal motor complexes were identified (range: 3 to 9). In patients with IPAA, during sleep, a mean of eight large pressure waves per hour were identified (range: 2 to 20). Importantly, in both controls and patients, rectal motor complexes or large pressure waves were always accompanied by rapid return of anal canal pressure from trough to basal values and increased contractile activity. We concluded that, in healthy patients and in continent patients after IPAA, motor activity of the rectum and of the ileal pouch was associated with changes in pressure and contractile activity of the anal canal so that rectal- and neorectal-anal canal pressure gradient, and, in turn, fecal continence were preserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992


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