A rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum
comes down from its normal place because
the support structures and muscles of the
pelvis and anus are weak. Straining during
bowel movements, childbirth, age, family
history, and spinal cord disease can cause
Symptoms of a rectal prolapse can be
changed in bowel habits, rectal bleeding,
mucous drainage, anorectal pan or fecal
Our surgeon looks at your age, health,
degree of the prolapse, test results, and the
presence or absence of other prolapsed
organs (such as your bladder) to decide if
surgery can help you and which surgery to
The rectal prolapse may be repaired several
ways. There is the abdominal approach.
The surgeon will make incision(s) through
the abdomen to do the surgery.
1. Open rectopexy
A longer incision (4 inches or
longer) is made in the middle of the
lower abdomen and the surgeon pulls
the rectum back in place. Using
sutures or a mesh sling the rectum is
anchored to the back wall of the
pelvis. If there are extra loops of
colon above the rectum, this may be
removed. The sigmoid colon is
usually the part of the colon that is
removed. Return to work in 4-6
2. Laparoscopic rectal prolapse
This surgery uses several small
incisions and special instruments and
a tiny camera through one of the
small incisions to repair the prolapse.
Return to work is in 4 weeks.
3. Robotic repair
This approach uses a robot to
perform the abdominal operation.
The surgeon operates the robot from
a console in which the instruments
are controlled by the surgeon. Small
incisions are made. Another surgeon
will assist and stand close to you.
Return to work in 4 weeks.
Surgeries that are performed through the
1. Altemeire procedure
The rectum is pulled through the
anus and a portion of the rectum and
sigmoid is removed and then the
intestine is reattached to the
remaining intestine. Return to work
in 3-4 weeks.
2. DeLorme procedure
Repair of a smaller rectal prolapse.
The lining of the rectum is removed
and the muscular layer is folded or
bunched up to shorten the rectum.
The lining that was removed is then
stitched back to cover the repair.
Return to work in 3-4 weeks.
Bowel prep will need to be done the day
before the surgery. This prep will be
tailored to your age, health and type of
surgery you are having. Bowel prep
instructions will be given to you as well as
teaching of the prep by a nurse.
The hospital stay is most likely 1-5 days and
will depend on the type of surgery. You will
spend a brief time in the hospital to recover
and regain bowel function. You will start
eating soft foods and take a stool softener to
prevent constipation. You will slowly
resume your normal diet after seeing the
surgeon at the post-op visit. You will need
to avoid straining so the prolapse doesn’t
recur while healing.
You will start with a full liquid diet that will
move to a low fiber diet. Keep your stool
soft so you do not strain during bowel
movements. You may need to take stool
softeners or laxatives. Be sure to drink at
least 8 – 10 (8 ounce) glasses of water a day.
Your doctor will tell you when you can go
back to your normal diet.
The amount of pain you have depends on the
extent of your repair and the size and
location of your incision(s). You will have
pain pills to take at home. Take them when
you first feel the pain. This will give you
better pain control and can help you heal
ξ Plan rest times during the day. You
will feel tired.
ξ Check with your doctor before going
back to work.
ξ Nothing more strenuous than
walking until okayed by your doctor.
ξ Do not strain during bowel
ξ Do not lift more than 20 pounds for 4
– 6 weeks
ξ No sexual activity until okayed by
ξ No driving for 3 – 4 weeks and as
long as you are taking narcotic pain
ξ Wear loose clothes.
ξ Two days after surgery you may
shower and gently wash your
incisions with mild soap and water.
Do not soak in a hot tub, bathtub, or
go swimming until your incisions
heal, this may be 2 weeks or longer.
Do not put lotion, ointment, or
powder on your incisions. You may
wear Band-Aids if you wish,
remember to change them every day
to prevent infection.
ξ Expect small areas of bruising at
your incision site.
ξ Check your incision daily for signs
o Increased redness, swelling
o Drainage such as blood or
o Temperature over 100.4 θ F
by mouth for two readings
taken 4 hours apart
You will see your surgeon 1 – 2 weeks after
When to Call the Doctor
ξ Temperature over 100.4 θF (by
mouth) for two readings taken 4
ξ Painful bloating or cramping
ξ Increased redness at the incision site
or warm to the touch
ξ Pus or excess bleeding from the
ξ Pain not controlled by pain pills
ξ Return of the rectal prolapse
ξ Unable to have a bowel movement
ξ Unable to control bowel movements
Digestive Health Center: (608) 890-5000.
After hours, weekends or holidays this
number will be answered by the paging
operator. Ask for the doctor on call or ask
for __________________. Leave your
name and phone number with area code. The
doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 5/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5980
Low Fiber Diet
Your doctor wants you to eat low fiber foods after surgery until your body heals. A low fiber
diet decreases the bulk and volume of stool.
Refined white bread, rolls, biscuits, muffins and
Refined cooked cereals, including grits, Malt-o-Meal®
and Farina. Refined dry cereals with under 2 grams of
fiber per serving
Pasta and Rice
Pasta made from white or semolina flour. White rice.
Cantaloupe, canned fruit cocktail, grapefruit sections,
seedless grapes, honeydew melon, mandarin oranges,
pineapple, plums, sour canned cherries, watermelon,
apricots (fresh, dried or canned), strawberries, peaches
(peeled), sweet cherries, mango, applesauce, tangerine,
nectarine, pears (peeled), banana
Bean sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cucumber
(peeled), lettuce, fresh mushrooms, potato (peeled),
radish, tomato, zucchini (peeled), peppers, celery,
onions, green beans, cauliflower, asparagus, sweet
potatoes (peeled), and
Meats and Meat Substitutes
Tender meat, fish and poultry.
Scrambled eggs, tofu, tuna, chicken, and ham salads