Anorectal Malformation

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Anorectal Malformation

Expert Help for Newborns Right When They Need It


When a baby is growing inside the womb, sometimes the anus and rectum don’t develop properly. This is called an “anorectal malformation,” and it causes problems with how a baby has a bowel movement (how they poop). Most babies need surgery to correct this right after they’re born — usually before they can go home from the hospital. At Nemours, our pediatric surgeons are experts at repairing anorectal malformations in even the tiniest newborns.

Anorectal Malformation Types We Treat

Anorectal Malformation Types We Treat


Since an anorectal malformation impacts how the body gets rid of waste (stool, feces or poop), it’s critical to identify them as early as possible. Although many can be identified at birth (or even in the womb), some present later when symptoms like urine (pee) and stool come from opposite openings or just one opening.

At Nemours, we repair all types of anorectal malformations, including:

  • anal stenosis (a narrow or shifted anal passage)
  • cloaca (when female babies have all three tubes — vagina, urethra and rectum — joined together so there’s only one opening)
  • imperforate anus (when the opening to the anus is missing or blocked)
  • membranous anal atresia (when skin covers the anal passage)

Anorectal malformations in children often occur with other medical conditions that together are known as “VACTERL associations”: 

  • V — vertebral anomalies (misshapen or fused vertebrae)
  • A — anal atresia (anal narrowing or blocking)
  • C — cardiovascular anomalies (congenital heart disease)
  • TE — tracheoesophageal fistula (abnormal connection between the esophagus and trachea, or windpipe)
  • R — renal (kidney) anomalies (obstruction or incomplete formation)
  • L — limb defects (extra fingers, forearm defects)

Many of these children have spina bifida and urinary tract issues and need medical management for resulting conditions that can cause constipation and incontinence (or lack of control of their stool).

Anorectal Malformation Services We Offer

Anorectal Malformation Services We Offer


Because newborns with anorectal malformations may have other complications or conditions, your child’s care team may include specialists and nurses specifically trained in:

Depending on the location you visit and your child’s condition, your Nemours team may also include:

Why Choose Us for Anorectal Malformation Care

Why Choose Us for Anorectal Malformation Care


At Nemours, our pediatric surgeons work together to identify and treat anorectal malformations as early as possible. As children grow and develop, pediatric specialists and programs throughout our health system can help your family manage ongoing symptoms, or conditions that may be related to anorectal malformations (like Hirschsprung disease). For example, a bowel management program can be helpful for children, especially if they need additional surgeries.

Regional Highlights of Our Anorectal Malformation Care

Services, programs, facilities and care teams differ at each location. Call for details.

ranked one of the best children’s hospitals for gastroenterology and GI surgery

We offer complete pediatric anorectal malformation care at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (Wilmington, Del.) and satellite Nemours DuPont Pediatrics locations.

  • ranked one of the best children’s hospitals in the country for pediatric gastroenterology and GI surgery by U.S. News & World Report 
  • the only Level IV NICU in the state of Delaware, providing the highest level of care for the most premature newborns
  • specialized Nemours critical care transport teams for safe, urgent helicopter and ambulance transfer from other hospitals
  • 24-hour pediatrics-only surgical services at duPont Hospital for Children
  • advanced, fully equipped pediatric outpatient surgery centers at Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Bryn Mawr and Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Deptford, with imaging capabilities onsite
  • bowel management clinic to help control bowel movements and keep the bowels clean — to help improve your child’s confidence and quality of life 
  • fetal testing and specialty consultations for malformations detected during pregnancy that may require surgery as soon as your baby is born 
  • Ronald McDonald House of Delaware next to our hospital campus, for an affordable home away from home during longer hospital stays

We offer ongoing pediatric anorectal malformation care at Nemours Children’s Hospital (Orlando).  

We offer pediatric anorectal malformation care at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville

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