Digestive System Home > Hirschsprung's Disease Treatment
Hirschsprung's disease treatment usually consists of a surgery called a pull-through procedure. Children who had an especially difficult time with the disease prior to diagnosis and treatment usually require a surgery first, called an ostomy. The ostomy helps the child get healthy before having the pull-through. In most cases, children lead a normal life after Hirschsprung's disease treatment, although certain lifestyle modifications may need to be made.
Hirschsprung's disease is typically treated with a surgery called a pull-through operation. There are three common ways to do a pull-through procedure. These methods include:
- The Swenson procedure
- The Soave procedure
- The Duhamel procedure.
Each is done a little differently, but all involve removing the part of the intestine that isn't working and connecting the healthy part that's left to the anus. After pull-through surgery, the child has a working intestine.
Often, the pull-through surgery can be done right after Hirschsprung's disease is diagnosed. However, children who have been very sick may first need a surgery called an ostomy. This surgery helps the child get healthy before having the pull-through procedure. Some doctors do an ostomy in every child before doing the operation.
In an ostomy, the doctor takes out the diseased part of the intestine. Then the doctor cuts a small hole in the baby's abdomen. The hole is called a stoma. The doctor connects the top part of the intestine to the stoma. Stool leaves the body through the stoma while the bottom part of the intestine heals. Stool goes into a bag attached to the skin around the stoma. The bag needs to be emptied several times a day.
If the doctor removes the entire large intestine and connects the small intestine to the stoma, the surgery is called an ileostomy. If the doctor leaves part of the large intestine and connects that to the stoma, the surgery is called a colostomy.
Later, the doctor will do the pull-through procedure. The doctor disconnects the intestine from the stoma and attaches it just above the anus. The stoma isn't needed any more, so the doctor either sews it up during surgery or waits about six weeks first to make sure that the pull-through surgery worked.