How do bulking agent injections help treat fecal incontinence?

Bulking agent injections are one way doctors can treat accidental bowel leakage (ABL), also known as fecal incontinence.
Sometimes ABL happens because the muscles lining the wall of the anal canal have become so weak that they do not stay together. Your doctor can use an anoscope (a small plastic tube with a light at the end of it) to inject a bulking material (similar to collagen) to move the walls of the anal canal closer to one another. The injections are done through a tiny needle and there are no nerve fibers where the needle is inserted, so you do not feel the injection.

This procedure can be repeated three to six months later if more bulking is needed to move the walls of the anal canal more closely together. This procedure is performed by some doctors right in the office and by others in the operating room, but either way you do not need to spend the night.
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Thus far, the injection of bulking agents to tighten the sphincter has not seen the success that had been hoped for. In situations of minor incontinence, small beads of carbon or silicon can be placed between the nternal and external sphincters. The beads thicken the overall sphincter complex with the goal of keeping it closed. The surgery is simple and is usually done in an office setting. But its effectiveness, particularly over the long term, has not met expectations.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.