Rectal prolapse care at Mayo Clinic

Your Mayo Clinic care team

More than 400 people receive care for rectal prolapse at Mayo Clinic every year. People with rectal prolapse often have other types of pelvic organ prolapse. If you need surgery, Mayo specialists work together so that in most cases you have only one procedure.

Advanced diagnosis

Mayo Clinic doctors use dynamic MRI for diagnosing and planning treatment for rectal prolapse. This noninvasive test scans the entire pelvis during a bowel movement and produces a video of the pelvic muscles and pelvic organs at work. Dynamic MRI also reveals prolapse in other pelvic organs, such as the bladder or vagina.

The latest surgical treatment options

At Mayo Clinic, surgeons select the surgery that is right for your condition. Mayo Clinic surgeons have a number of options, including:

  • Perineal proctectomy. The prolapsed rectum is removed via an incision in the protruding rectum.
  • Sigmoid resection and rectopexy. The surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen and removes the sigmoid colon, the part of the large intestine closest to the rectum and anus. The rectopexy procedure anchors the rectum to a bony structure attached to the lower spine and pelvis (sacrum) using sutures, and possibly surgical mesh for additional support. In most cases it is possible to perform this operation using minimally invasive surgery, which results in smaller incisions than conventional surgery.
  • Rectopexy. Sometimes surgeons will perform rectopexy alone, without removing any of the colon. In this case they may use robotic surgery.

For more information, see rectal prolapse surgery.

Nonsurgical treatment

Along with surgical options, biofeedback therapy is also available at Mayo Clinic. Biofeedback is one type of physical therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction. Specially trained physiotherapists teach simple exercises that can increase anal muscle strength.

People learn how to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, sense when stool is ready to be evacuated and contract the muscles if evacuation is inconvenient. Biofeedback therapy can be used before or after surgery. It may not eliminate the need for surgery, but it can make surgery more successful by helping to prevent rectal prolapse recurrence.

Treatment for children

In children, rectal prolapse can usually be managed with stool softeners or other medication. If surgery is needed, Mayo Clinic surgeons have special experience in minimally invasive techniques. In addition, children with rectal prolapse can be screened for cystic fibrosis at Mayo Clinic, since rectal prolapse can be a sign of that disease.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks No. 1 for digestive disorders in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for digestive disorders by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for digestive disorders.