What is Imperforate Anus?

Imperforate Anus

or Anal Artesia is a congenital disorder. The child is born with a malformed rectum. There is a structural defect such that the opening to the anus is not there or it is blocked. The anus is the structure which connects to the rectum and facilitates the passage of stools out of the body.
The estimated incidence of the disease is around 1 in 5000 births. It affects both the sexes equally.

Imperforate anus

Types of Imperforate Anus

The disease could manifest itself in several forms as discussed below:

  • The deformity may appear as a low lesion in which the colon subsides close to the skin. The rectum which generally opens into the anus, has a blind pouch in the place of an anal opening. Alternately, the anus may be extremely narrowed and constricted as in the condition Stenosis. Or it may be absent altogether.
  • The deformity may appear as a high lesion in which the colon is situated high up in the pelvis. There is an abnormal formation of a passage way (fistula) between the rectum and the bladder, urethra and vagina in girls.
  • Imperforate anus

  • Presence of a persistent cloaca. It is a condition in which the rectum, urinary tract and vagina in girls are joined together in a single passage way.

Symptoms of Anal Artesia

    Absence of anus or the presence of a malformed anus.

  • New borns not passing stools in the first 24-48 hours after birth.
  • Distended abdomen.
  • Anal opening very close to the vagina.
  • Passage of stools is abnormally out of the vagina, base of penis, scrotum or urethra.
  • Loss of control on bowels.
  • Intestinal blockage.
  • Chronic constipation.


  • Primarily detected in new borns, it has to be immediately corrected with surgery. Otherwise, it has the potential of turning life threatening.
  • The surgeons normally create an outlet for the feces.
  • Sometimes a colostomy needs to be performed. In this procedure, an end of the large intestine opens through a small perforation in the abdominal wall. Collected feces move out of the body into a bag tied to the abdomen.

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