The anorectal physiology of 106 children with long-standing chronic constipation, who had failed to response to a trial of medical treatment, was assessed. 10 (9%) were shown to have ultrashort-segment Hischsprung's disease, later confirmed on histology, The remainder showed evidence of hypertrophy of the internal sphicter on anorectal manometry and had a vigorous anal dilatation (to accept 4 fingers) under general anesthesia. After this, 38% were able to be weaned off all medication and most of the remainder improved. Further anal dilatation and internal sphincterotomy allowed a further 10 children to stop laxative, bringing the total to 48%.
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