Pull-through procedure

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Pull-through procedure
IndicationsHirschsprung disease

A pull-through procedure is the definitive operation for Hirschsprung disease, involving the removal of the abnormal segment of bowel that has no nerves, pulling through the normal bowel and connecting it to the anus.[1]

Several types of pull-through procedures exist including the Soave, Swenson and Duhamel. It can be performed using an open or minimally invasive approach.[1]


A pull-through procedure is the definitive treatment for Hirschsprung's disease, with the aim of removing the abnormal part of the bowel and joining the normal part of the intestine with the anus.[2]

Swenson pull-through

The original pull-through procedure was designed by Orvar Swenson and his colleague Alexander Bill. The abnormal aganglionic part of the bowel is resected down to the sigmoid colon and rectum, and the normal colon and the low rectum are subsequently joined.[1][3]

Duhamel pull-through

The Duhamel pull-through is a modified Swenson's pull-through, first described in 1956.[1]

Soave pull-through

The Soave procedure involves resecting the mucosa and submucosa of the rectum and pulling through the normal ganglionic bowel through the aganglionic muscular cuff of the rectum. It was introduced in the 1960s and initially did not include a formal join. It depended on scar tissue formation between the pull-through segment and the surrounding aganglionic bowel. The procedure was later modified by Boley.[1]

Anorectal myomectomy

If the segment of Hirschsprung's is short, anorectal myomectomy maybe an alternative surgical option.[1]

Laparoscopic approach

Georgeson first described laparoscopic surgical treatment of Hirschsprung's in 1999.[1] Transanal pull-through procedures do not require an intra-abdominal dissection.[1][4]


Complications include anaesthetic risks, infection, bleeding and perforation of the bowel.[5] Frequent loose stools may cause nappy rash. Toilet training may also pose problems. Occasionally a temporary stoma is required.[6]A pull-through may sometimes fail if some of the abnormal bowel is left behind.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Hirschsprung Disease Treatment & Management: Approach Considerations, Medical Care, Surgical Care". Medscape. 2 February 2019. Archived from the original on 9 March 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  2. "Hirschsprung disease". American Pediatric Surgical Association. Archived from the original on 9 December 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  3. Swenson O (1989). "My early experience with Hirschsprung's disease". Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 24 (8): 839–44, discussion 844–5. doi:10.1016/S0022-3468(89)80549-4. PMID 2671336.
  4. Dasgupta, Roshni; Langer, Jacob C. (2005). "Transanal pull-through for Hirschsprung disease". Seminars in Pediatric Surgery. 14 (1): 64–71. doi:10.1053/j.sempedsurg.2004.10.027. ISSN 1055-8586. PMID 15770590. S2CID 26483790. Archived from the original on 2022-02-15. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  5. "Hirschsprung's disease". www.gosh.nhs.uk. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  6. Costigan, Ann; Orr, Stephanie. "Hirschprungs Disease Passport" (PDF). Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital. Dublin. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  7. Sebire, Neil; Malone, Marian; Ashworth, Michael; Jacques, Thomas S. (2009). Diagnostic Pediatric Surgical Pathology E-Book: Expert Consult--Online and Print. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. p. 572. ISBN 9780443068089. Archived from the original on 2022-02-15. Retrieved 2022-01-12.