Object. Disturbance in anorectal function is a major factor restricting the activities of daily living in patients with spinal cord disorders. To detect changes in anorectal motilities due to a tethered spinal cord, anorectal functions were evaluated using a saline enema test and fecoflowmetry before and after patients underwent untethering surgery.
Methods. The bowel functions in five patients with a tethered cord syndrome (TCS) were evaluated by performing a saline enema test and fecoflowmetry. The contractile activity of the rectum, the volume of infused saline tolerated in the rectum, anal canal pressure, and the ability to evacuate rectal content were examined.
The characteristic findings in anorectal motility studies conducted in patients with TCS were a hyperactive rectum, diminished rectal saline-retention ability, and diminished maximal flow in saline evacuation. A hyperactive rectum was considered to be a major contributing factor to fecal incontinence. In one asymptomatic patient diminished anal squeezing pressure was exhibited and was incontinent to liquid preoperatively, but recovered after surgery. Two patients who underwent surgery for myeloschisis as infants complained of progressive fecal incontinence when they became adolescents. In one patient fecal incontinence improved but in another patient no improvement was observed after untethering surgery.
Conclusions. Fecodynamic studies allow the detection of neurogenic disturbances of the anorectum in symptomatic and also in asymptomatic patients with TCS. More attention should be paid to the anorectal functions of patients with TCS.