Rectal Prolapse: An Overview of Clinical Features, Diagnosis, and Patient-Specific Management Strategies

Liliana Bordeianou, Caitlin W. Hicks, Andreas M. Kaiser, Karim Alavi, Ranjan Sudan, Paul E. Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Rectal prolapse can present in a variety of forms and is associated with a range of symptoms including pain, incomplete evacuation, bloody and/or mucous rectal discharge, and fecal incontinence or constipation. Complete external rectal prolapse is characterized by a circumferential, full-thickness protrusion of the rectum through the anus, which may be intermittent or may be incarcerated and poses a risk of strangulation. There are multiple surgical options to treat rectal prolapse, and thus care should be taken to understand each patient's symptoms, bowel habits, anatomy, and pre-operative expectations. Preoperative workup includes physical exam, colonoscopy, anoscopy, and, in some patients, anal manometry and defecography. With this information, a tailored surgical approach (abdominal versus perineal, minimally invasive versus open) and technique (posterior versus ventral rectopexy +/- sigmoidectomy, for example) can then be chosen. We propose an algorithm based on available outcomes data in the literature, an understanding of anorectal physiology, and expert opinion that can serve as a guide to determining the rectal prolapse operation that will achieve the best possible postoperative outcomes for individual patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1059-1069
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Altemeier Procedure
  • D'Hoore Procedure
  • Delorme Procedure
  • Management
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Rectopexy
  • Surgery


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