Rectal Prolapse

Colorectal Surgery located in San Antonio, TX

Rectal Prolapse services offered in San Antonio, TX

Feeling or seeing your rectum protruding from your anus is distressing, but you can fully recover with expert treatment. Experienced colorectal surgeon Tamara J. Merchant-McCambry, MD, at Lone Star Colon & Rectal Surgery and Clinical Services of San Antonio, has extensive experience in repairing rectal prolapses. Dr. Merchant-McCambry uses advanced surgical techniques to restore your rectum to its proper position. Call the office in San Antonio, Texas, or book an appointment online today to schedule a rectal prolapse evaluation.

Rectal Prolapse Q&A

What is rectal prolapse?

A rectal prolapse happens when your rectum (the last section of your gastrointestinal tract) drops from its normal position and projects through your anus. Rectal prolapses are uncomfortable and embarrassing but aren’t usually a medical emergency.

When you have rectal prolapse, you’ll feel your rectum bulge as it exits your anus. You might also see a reddish-brown tissue mass. At first, this might only happen during a bowel movement, but over time, your rectum might prolapse at other times.

A rectal prolapse can cause pain and rectal bleeding. Without proper treatment, you could develop fecal incontinence and be unable to retain your stools.

What causes rectal prolapse?

A rectal prolapse happens because the muscles holding your rectum in place fail. Your risk is higher if you have weak pelvic floor muscles or pelvic floor disorder. Other possible causes include:

  • Long-term constipation
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Previous pelvic injury or surgery
  • Chronic (long-lasting) diarrhea
  • Intestinal parasitic infections
  • Chronic coughing or sneezing
  • Spinal cord or nerve damage
  • Aging

Dr. Merchant-McCambry completes a medical history review, symptom check, and physical exam to confirm your prolapse. She might order anal electromyography (EMG) to test the nerve and muscle function or an anal ultrasound to view the tissues in detail.

How is rectal prolapse treated?

A rectal prolapse, even if it’s mild, usually requires surgery. Dr. Merchant-McCambry can complete the operation in one of several ways:

Abdominal approach (rectopexy)

During rectopexy, Dr. Merchant-McCambry returns your rectum to its proper position through incisions in your abdomen. She stitches the rectal tissue to the sacrum (the back wall of your pelvis) and might reinforce it with mesh. Rectopexy holds your rectum in place while scar tissue develops. The procedure’s long-term success rate is 97%.

Rectal approach (perineal)

The rectal approach — accessing the rectum via the anus — might be suitable if:

  • You have a very minor prolapse
  • Your rectum is incarcerated (stuck on the outside)
  • Abdominal surgery is unsuitable
  • You should avoid a general anesthetic

With the Altemeier procedure, Dr. Merchant-McCambry pulls your prolapsed rectum out through the anus and removes it. She then creates a new rectum from healthy colon tissue.

The Delorme procedure only removes the prolapsed rectum’s mucosal lining. Dr. Merchant-McCambry folds the rectal muscle wall back onto itself and stitches it.

To learn more about treatments for rectal prolapse, call Lone Star Colon & Rectal Surgery and Clinical Services of San Antonio or book an appointment online today.