Colorectal and Pelvic Center

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Colorectal and Pelvic Center

Surgery and Care for Colorectal and Pelvic Defects

When children are born with complex bowel and pelvic conditions, our expert team provides the surgery and care they need to thrive.

About 1 in 5,000 children is born with defects in their bowel or pelvis that prevent them from stooling (pooping) easily or at all. This can cause pain and lead to serious health problems. Children's Health℠ is one of the few pediatric hospitals in the U.S. with a coordinated program to care for these kids.

At our Colorectal and Pelvic Center, we perform reconstructive surgery so your child can use the bathroom naturally. We also provide the expert care your child needs to manage their bowel and associated bladder issues throughout childhood and adolescence.

Treatments and Services

  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Cloacal anomaly repair
  • Cloacal exstrophy repair
  • Anorectal manometry
  • Urodynamic studies
  • Bowel management
  • Nutritional services
  • Psychological services

Our team brings multiple experts together to help children overcome even the most complex colorectal and pelvic conditions. These conditions can require years of treatment and follow-up care, and we’ll stay by your side and deliver the care your child needs, every step of the way.

Comprehensive, convenient care

Children with birth defects in their lower intestine and pelvis are at higher risk for other health issues, such as problems with bowel and kidney function. Our team includes specialists in each of these areas, who will work together to develop a treatment plan that matches your child’s unique needs. This approach also means you can see all the specialists your child needs at one facility, many in a single visit.

Our specialists include:

  • Pediatric surgeons with special experience in these conditions
  • Gastroenterologists who treat any digestive problems your child may have
  • Urologists who care for issues related to your child’s genitourinary system
  • Adolescent Gynecologists who care for sexual and reproductive issues in girls
  • Nutritionists who can design a diet that helps your child manage their condition and stay healthy and active
  • Psychologists who help parents and children cope with the emotional and stressful aspects of having unique needs around food and going to the bathroom

Care for newborns

Some babies with defects in the anus, rectum or lower intestine may need surgery soon after they’re born so that stool doesn’t build up inside their bodies and cause serious health problems. We treat babies from the time they are born, working closely with our neonatology team (which specializes in newborns) to make sure babies and their families have the care and support they need.

If your baby has no other issues, we can often do one operation to correct their problem. If your baby has heart or other more complex issues associated with their condition, we’ll do surgery in stages to make treatment as easy as possible. For those children that require more than one operation, we first do a procedure that pulls their intestine through an opening we create in their tummy as a temporary way for them to stool. When they’re stronger and their other health issues have stabilized – usually two to four months after the first operation – we’ll do a reconstructive procedure to give them the best chance for properly functioning bowel, rectum and anus.

Continuing care through childhood

As they grow up, children born with anorectal malformations, Hirschsprung's disease or other conditions often experience problems with incontinence (having “accidents”) or constipation (not being able to go to the bathroom to stool). We’re here to help your child play and go to school without being held back by worries or health problems. Our team will create a plan for your child that includes tips on what to eat and how to help your child use the toilet for the best bowel function possible. We will see your child regularly for many years so we can monitor their progress and adapt their care plan to fit their changing bodies and lifestyle.

Meet the Care Team