The clinical significance of postpartum transperineal ultrasound of the anal sphincter

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Background and objective: To evaluate the clinical significance of postpartum anal sphincter damage by transperineal ultrasonography (TPUS) performed on the day of delivery. Methods: Continence questionnaires were handed out and TPUS was performed on 154 consecutive primiparous women 6-24 h after vaginal delivery. At 2 and 6 months later, complaints and sphincteric sonographic appearance were reassessed. The puerperal women's clinical status and sonographic findings in the immediate and late postpartum period were evaluated. Results: Thirty-five (23%) women complained of anal incontinence on the first postpartum day and anal sphincter damage was demonstrated by TPUS in 31 (89%) of them. Four women with anorectal complaints had an intact anal sphincter by TPUS. Follow-up questionnaires, 2 months later, revealed 30 symptomatic women: all of them had sonographically recognized tears on the initial TPUS and 27 of them had positive findings on the TPUS performed 2 months after birth. Six months after delivery, 27 women reported symptoms and all of them had sphincteric disruption evidenced on TPUS performed on the day of delivery. All the women with intact sphincter on the initial TPUS were asymptomatic 6 months later. Conclusion: TPUS findings on the day of delivery are related to long-term anorectal complaints, supporting a potential role for TPUS as a screening aid for anal sphincter tears.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anal incontinence
  • Anal sphincter
  • Flatus
  • Transperineal ultrasound


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