Anorectal malformations: Evaluation of associated spinal dysraphic syndromes

Frederick M. Karrer*, Ann M. Flannery, Marvin D. Nelson, David G. McLone, John G. Raffensperger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The early recognition and treatment of correctable lesions of the terminal spinal cord in patients with anorectal malformations may preserve important neurologic function. Tethered cord and intraspinal masses are detectable with the use of high-resolution ultrasonography in the neonate. Fourteen infants and children with anorectal malformations and associated spinal dysraphism have been identified in our institution over the past 7 years. Six patients had cloacal exstrophy, and eight had imperforate anus (four high and four low lesions). The spinal lesions caused symptoms in only seven children; progressive neurologic deficit in five, and urinary incontinence or retention in two others. Five asymptomatic patients with cutaneous abnormalities on the back were studied and two were discovered during scoliosis evaluation. Imaging techniques included high-resolution ultrasonography, computed tomography with and without metrizamide myelography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Spinal sonography was highly accurate in the neonatal period. The application of ultrasonography can be of great advantage in early screening of patients with anorectal malformations and, in some cases, may eliminate the need for invasive imaging techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-48
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988


  • Imperforate anus
  • cloacal exstrophy
  • spina bifida
  • spinal dysraphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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