Background: Z-shaped anastomosis is one of the modifications of Duhamel's procedure that was designed to eliminate the blind rectal pouch and to achieve complete resection of the colorectal septum. It has been the most widely performed operation in Japan for many years. The longterm postoperative function of evacuation and quality of life of the patients are considered important to evaluate this procedure. Methods: At Kyushu University Hospital, from 1963 to 1997, 127 patients with Hirschsprung's disease underwent Z-shaped anastomosis. As a result, 122 out of 127 patients (96%) survived. The present status and symptoms, and anorectal functions, including a manometric study and barium enema, were evaluated during the clinical followup. Results: A total of 99 of the 122 surviving patients (81%) were available for this study, and the mean postoperative period was 16 years. Evacuation scores in all patients were as follows; excellent, 62.2%; good, 28.6%; fair, 8.2%; and poor, 1.0%. The percentage of the patients who showed severe symptoms was 4.1% for diarrhea, 3.1% for constipation, 5.1% for incontinence, and 7.1% for soiling. The evacuation score improved chronologically and tended to reach a plateau at 10 to 15 years after operation, at which time 73% of the patients showed excellent outcomes and 95% were satisfactory (good or excellent). The appearance of a sense of defecation and an increase in the pressure difference between the anal canal and the rectum substantially contributed to the improvement in the defecation score. The appearance of the rectosphincteric reflex, including the atypical one, was seen in 40.5% of patients, but the appearance of a reflex did not seem to be related to the clinical status of defecation. Twenty-two of 30 patients older than 20 years were married, and 8 patients had children. Conclusions: The evacuation scores of in-patients undergoing Z-shaped anastomosis improved with age and were satisfactory (good or excellent) in most patients at least 10 years after operation. Most of the patients adapted to a normal social life.
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