Hirschsprung's disease in the adolescent and adult is a rare and often misdiagnosed cause of lifelong refractory constipation. Two adolescent and three adult patients with Hirschsprung's disease treated between 1973 and 1987 at the University of Michigan Medical Center are reported. Each patient presented with chronic constipation requiring enemas, cathartics, and multiple hospital admissions for management. Diagnosis in each case was made with barium enema and full-thickness rectal biopsy. Four patients underwent endorectal pull-through procedures, all with good long-term results. The fifth patient, initially treated with a Duhamel retrorectal pull-through procedure, required reoperation for constipation secondary to a retained rectal septum. Review of 199 cases of adult Hirschsprung's disease enables comparison of the various operative procedures for this disorder with respect to postoperative complications and functional outcomes. Anorectal myectomy with low anterior resection, the Duhamel-Martin procedure, and the Soave endorectal pull-through procedure are the most acceptable methods for surgical management
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