Diseases of the Colon & Rectum vol:45 issue:8 pages:1016-22
PURPOSE: Sensation is an essential aspect of fecal continence. We aimed to correlate manovolumetric and radiologic changes at successive levels of rectal filling sensation. METHODS: Combined anorectal manometry and proctography were performed in nine volunteers. Images, volumes, and pressures were analyzed at the start of the test, at 20 seconds before first sensation, and at first, constant, urge, and maximum tolerable sensation. RESULTS: Consecutive levels of rectal filling sensation were associated with progressive opening and dilation of the upper anal canal (up to 44 mm) and sliding down of the rectal contents (14 mm), which had already started before the first sensation. This coincided initially with a pressure decrease in the proximal anal canal (from 94 to 42 mmHg). With constant sensation and particularly with urge sensation, rectal pressure increase appeared to be responsible for further proximal anal dilation. This was accompanied by a significant increase of proximal anal pressure (up to 133 mmHg) and sharpening of the angle between the anal axis and the horizontal reference line. CONCLUSION: The proximal anal canal or its surrounding structures play an important role in the desire-to-defecate sensation. They can be activated by a progressive buildup of rectal reservoir pressure in the presence of a competent distal anal sphincter barrier.