Sclerotherapy for the management of rectal prolapse in children

Scott C. Dolejs, Justin Sheplock, Robert J. Vandewalle, Mathew P. Landman, Frederick J. Rescorla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Rectal prolapse is a commonly occurring and usually self-limited process in children. Surgical management is indicated for failures of conservative management. However, the optimal approach is unknown. The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of sclerotherapy for the management of rectal prolapse. Methods: This was a retrospective review of children < 18 years with rectal prolapse who underwent sclerotherapy, predominantly with peanut oil (91%), between 1998 and 2015. Patients with imperforate anus or cloaca abnormalities, Hirschprung disease, or prior pull-through procedures were excluded. Results: Fifty-seven patients were included with a median age of 4.9 years (interquartile range (IQR) 3.2–9.2) and median follow-up of 52 months (IQR 8–91). Twenty patients (n = 20/57; 35%) recurred at a median of 1.6 months (IQR 0.8–3.6). Only 3 patients experienced recurrence after 4 months. Nine of the patients who recurred (n = 9/20; 45%) were re-treated with sclerotherapy. This was successful in 5 patients (n = 5/9; 56%). Two patients (n = 2/20; 10%) experienced a mucosal recurrence which resolved with conservative management. Forty-four patients were thus cured with sclerotherapy alone (n = 44/57; 77%). No patients undergoing sclerotherapy had an adverse event. Thirteen patients (n = 13/20; 65%) underwent rectopexy after failing at least one treatment of sclerotherapy. Three of these patients (n = 3/13; 23%) recurred following rectopexy and required an additional operation. Conclusions: Injection sclerotherapy for children with rectal prolapse resulted in a durable cure of prolapse in most children. Patients who recur following sclerotherapy tend to recur within 4 months. Another attempt at sclerotherapy following recurrence is reasonable and was successful half of the time. Sclerotherapy should be the preferred initial treatment for rectal prolapse in children and for the initial treatment of recurrence. Level of evidence: Level IV. Type of study: Treatment Study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-76
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Rectal prolapse
  • Sclerotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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