Diagnosis & Treatment at the Pediatric Complex Colorectal Care Program

At the Pediatric Complex Colorectal Care Program, our specialists provide a thorough assessment of your child to help create a personal treatment plan. We offer a full array of treatment options to achieve bowel control or to improve bowel movements.

Diagnosis and Assessment

Diagnosis of a complex colorectal condition may involve a physical exam, blood work, stool tests, and imaging tests, such as an X-ray, contrast enema, CT scan, or MRI scan. Many of the children in our care have already received a diagnosis, but despite prior treatment, are still experiencing problems with bowel control.

Our doctors may perform a surgical exam of the anus and rectum to assess how these structures are constructed and whether their muscles are intact. We also perform tests to determine the strength and response of the anal and rectal muscles to stimulation. These exams provide us with detailed information to create a treatment plan.

We offer a variety of nonsurgical and surgical approaches to managing colon and rectal disorders.

Nonsurgical Approaches

These are some of the approaches we use to manage problems with bowel movements and control:

  • medications to manage stool leakage or constipation
  • dietary changes to help regulate the bowel
  • enema regimens to ensure the digestive tract remains clean
  • pelvic floor physical therapy to strengthen the anal and rectal muscles
  • botulinum toxin injection in the anal sphincter to help with the release of stool

Surgical Approaches

Several surgical approaches are available for children with complex colorectal conditions. Our doctors personalize these approaches to the anatomy and circumstances of each patient.

These procedures may include revision of a prior anoplasty, which is surgery to reconstruct the anus; a pull-through, a procedure in which doctors remove a damaged section of the intestine and pull the healthy section down to the anus to retain or improve function; a Malone appendicostomy, which allows for the delivery of enemas through a catheter in the abdomen; or other interventions to correct abnormal anatomy. In recognition of providing the highest-quality surgical care for children, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital is recognized as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons.

Our doctors can refer you and your child to support services offered through Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care to help navigate surgery and recovery.