The anal canal forms the last part of the digestive tract and ends with the anus. (For general information about that part of the body see anus article.) Some children are born with the closed anal canal. It is closed by the membrane that is over the canal or the canal is not developed (atresia), and the digestive tract ends at the back of the intestine, and there is no connection between the back of the intestine and the anus. In some cases, there is another problem: walls, that open the intestine are not sufficiently developed.
What to do?
The examination of the newborn will reveal the presence of the anal membrane, but not the atresia. A doctor can suspect on atresia is the baby, 12 hours after birth, does not release a green-black substance called meconium that accumulates in the intestine. Diagnosis is confirmed if a finger or thermometer, inserted through the anus, founds the obstruction, i.e. end of the last bowel.
Imperforate anus is rare. It occurs only in every 6,000th out of 15,000 births.
The surgical procedure will remove the membrane or open the blind end of the rectum and connect it with the anus. The operation is usually successful, and long-term odds are completely satisfying, except in cases of weak anal muscles. In such cases, the child will suffer from a strong constipation when the stools are normal, or from fecal incontinence when the stools are soft. It will be necessary to perform an operation called colostomy; for more details see this article.