My niece was just born yesterday with something called "anorectal malformation" and the doctor said it is due to a lack of anal connection. The doctor told my sister that surgery is the ONLY option and I'm trying to help my sister find out if there are any other options that would not require surgery. Can you tell me what this is and whether there are other treatments for it?
"Anorectal malformation" is a bit vague. This can mean anything from an abnormally narrow anal canal to a complete lack of anus and the associated musculature. Most malformations are somewhere in between: the rectum did not quite make it to the anal canal during development, and instead is connected to the vagina, or bladder, etc.
If the anus is merely narrow, or merely slightly displaced (meaning that the rectum didn't quite "hit the target" and emerge in exactly within the sphinchter muscles) there are non-surgical options.
But these circumstances are rare. Most problems do require surgery. And there ARE minimally invasive options.
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