Tap Water Irrigation and Additives to Optimize Success With the Malone Antegrade Continence Enema: The Indiana University Algorithm

Ahmad H. Bani-Hani, Mark P. Cain, Shelly King, Richard C. Rink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: We report the long-term effectiveness of standard tap water for Malone antegrade continence enema irrigation as well as our algorithm for managing refractory constipation/fecal incontinence in a large single institution experience. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 256 Malone antegrade continence enema procedures performed for chronic constipation and/or incontinence due to neuropathic bowel. Continence, type of fluid used to irrigate the colon, volume of flushes and the need for additives were recorded and a database was created. All patients were initially treated with tap water irrigation. Those in whom tap water irrigation failed underwent complete bowel cleanout with enemas and GoLYTELY® via the Malone antegrade continence enema, followed by a gradual increase in irrigation volume. If this was unsuccessful, additives of mineral oil, MiraLAX® or glycerin were added to the irrigant daily. Results: A total of 236 patients with at least 6 months of followup were included in this study. Mean age at surgery was 10.2 years (range 2 to 36) and mean followup in the entire cohort was 50 months (range 6 to 115). Mean volume of colonic flushes was 642 ml (range 100 to 1,000). Of the patients 196 (83.1%) achieved total fecal continence with tap water flushes alone. Using additives increased the overall continence rate to 93.6% (p <0.0001). Conclusions: The Malone antegrade continence enema procedure has proved invaluable for treating children with refractory constipation. When additives are used in conjunction with water flushes, they can significantly improve the overall fecal continence rate in partially continent children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1757-1760
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008


  • constipation
  • enema
  • fecal incontinence
  • spinal dysraphism
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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