What is sphincteroplasty for fecal incontinence?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
If your anal sphincter was damaged during childbirth, anal surgery, or other trauma, your physician may suggest a sphincteroplasty to repair it and help treat fecal incontinence. The external anal sphincter forms a ring around the anus. If there is a breach or interruption in the ring of muscle, you may not be able to close it tightly enough to keep stool in. During a sphincteroplasty, the surgeon will reattach the damaged ends and stitch them together to create a complete ring of muscle. This restores the anus to its proper shape. Sphincteroplasty has been used for decades and is the most common surgery used to treat fecal incontinence. It is very safe. However, the effectiveness of sphincteroplasty may differ for different kinds of patients. Therefore, careful evaluation before surgery is important.

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