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J R Soc Med. 1984; 77(Suppl 3): 13–19.
PMCID: PMC1440515

Constipation and congenital disorders of the myenteric plexus.


Full-thickness muscle biopsies have been taken from patients with severe disabling chronic constipation that has not responded to conservative measures. Assessment by neurohistochemical techniques has revealed that a range of neuronal dysplasias of the myenteric plexus are responsible in many cases; these include aganglionosis (Hirschsprung's disease), hypoganglionosis and hyperganglionosis. In cases considered unlikely to be Hirschsprung's disease on clinical grounds, the procedure used has often been anorectal myectomy; this has not only provided tissue for diagnosis but has also been of therapeutic value in most cases of hypoganglionosis and some cases reported as 'normal'.

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