Factors in the maintenance of anal continence

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These include:

Stool volume and consistency: solidity of faeces.

Sphincteric function: internal and external anal sphincters. The internal anal sphincter measures 30 mm in length and 5 mm in thickness, and comprises smooth muscle fibres of the circular or inner muscle layer of the rectum. Rectal sensation, allowing discrimination between flatus and faeces. Mechanical factors: Anorectal angle: about 90° angle between the long axes of the anal canal and rectum in the resting state, maintained by the puborectalis sling. Flutter valve.

Flap valve action of the anterior rectal wall mucosa just above the anal canal. Reservoir function of the rectum. Coordinated pelvic floor muscular activity.

Investigation of function of anal sphincters, rectum and pelvic floor

Anorectal manometry

Closed balloon system;

Perfused fluid-filled open-tipped catheter.

At manometry, information can be obtained about maximum resting (tonic contraction of internal sphincter) and squeeze (voluntary contraction of external sphincter), rectal sensation, sphincter length and the inhibitory recto-anal reflex.


Defaecography or evacuation proctography Endorectal ultrasound Balloon proctography

Electrophysiological studies


Nerve stimulation techniques a BIBLIOGRAPHY

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