Long-term Functional Urinary and Sexual Outcomes in Patients with Anorectal Malformations: A Systematic Review

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Context: Long-term urinary and sexual outcomes after repair of anorectal malformations (ARMs) are currently affected by concomitant malformations of the urinary tract and genitalia, sacral anomalies, and the surgical approach. However, the overall prevalence of urinary and sexual dysfunction remains unclear. Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of urinary and sexual dysfunction in patients aged >10 yr after repair of ARM in infancy. Evidence acquisition: A systematic literature review was performed using the Medline, Embase, and Cochrane databases. Selected studies were reviewed according to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) and Standards for the Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (STARD) criteria. We included studies reporting the prevalence of the following outcomes: urinary incontinence (UI), lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), neurogenic bladder dysfunction (NBD), sexual dysfunction (SD), erectile dysfunction (ED), ejaculatory dysfunction, and birth rate. We initially identified 588 studies, of which 17 were included for evidence synthesis. Evidence synthesis: A probabilistic meta-analysis on each subgroup revealed the following combined prevalence estimates: UI 16% (95% confidence interval [CI] 7–27%), LUTS/NBD 36% (95% CI 13–62%), SD among women 50% (95% CI 34–66%), ED 12% (95% CI 7–18%), ejaculatory dysfunction 16% (95% CI 9–25%), and birth rate 20% (95% CI 7–38%). Subgroup analysis showed a higher prevalence of ED and ejaculatory dysfunction among patients with high ARM severity when compared to low ARM severity. Conclusions: Among patients undergoing ARM repair, we found a high prevalence of long-term impairment of UI, ED, and SD. We stress the need for larger multicentre trials with more comparable populations to optimise treatment and follow-up regimens. Patient summary: We reviewed long-term outcomes for patients with anorectal malformations who underwent surgery and found that both urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunctions are common for both males and females. The prevalence of urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction (ED), ejaculatory dysfunction (EJD), and sexual dysfunction is high after repair of anorectal malformation (ARM). The prevalence of ED and EJD was higher for patients with high-severity ARM than for patients with low-severity ARM. In general, the studies included in the review were small and heterogeneous.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Urology Open Science
Pages (from-to)29-38
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Anorectal malformation
  • Paediatric surgery
  • Sexual outcome
  • Urinary outcome


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