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In a retrospective study of 92 patients admitted between 1975 and 1986 with anorectal malformations, we reviewed the faecal continence according to the level of their anomaly using a scoring system taken from Pescatori et al. The results of the different operative procedures were compared. Forty-seven of the 50 patients in the low anomaly group had complete faecal continence. Two died from associated anomalies and one infant had incomplete continence. This child had an associated neural tube defect. Of eight patients in the intermediate group, three had good results while two were incontinent: three patients died from associated anomalies. There were 34 patients with high anomalies, 27 of whom showed a wide range of faecal control from complete continence to different degrees of incontinence. Seven infants died from septicaemia and/or associated anomalies. The anatomical level of the lesion and the presence or absence of any associated neurological defect were the main determinants of outcome. The sex of the child and the operative procedure employed to correct the anomaly appeared to be less important.