esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum
Figure 1: Normal intestinal anatomy

What is rectal prolapse?

Patients with a rectal prolapse have a protrusion (prolapse) of the rectum through the anus. The rectum folds on itself and protrudes through the anal canal. They may also have such symptoms as a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, mucus drainage, anorectal pain or fecal incontinence. A rectal prolapse is thought to occur because of a loss or weakness of the normal support structures for the rectum.

What is laparoscopic rectopexy?

Laparoscopic rectopexy is one of the surgeries that is used to repair a rectal prolapse. In this surgery, the rectum is restored to its normal position in the pelvis, so that it no longer protrudes through the anus. Usually, stitches are used to secure the rectum, often along with mesh.

The term "laparoscopic" refers to surgery performed through several very small incisions in the abdomen. A laparoscope (a long, thin camera) is placed through an incision near the belly button in order to see the inside of the abdomen. The other small incisions are used to place instruments to perform the surgery.

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