Rectal suction biopsy in the diagnosis of intestinal dysganglionoses: 5-year experience with Solo-RBT in 389 patients

Alessio Pini-Prato, Giuseppe Martucciello, Vincenzo Jasonni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Since Noblett (J Pediatr Surg 1969;4:406-409) described her innovative tool, rectal suction biopsy (RSB) has become the gold standard in the diagnosis of Hirschsprung's disease and other intestinal dysganglionoses. Many different instruments have been developed during the last 30 years, but none of them proved to be free of disadvantages. In 2000, at Gaslini Research Institute, we developed an improved tool to perform RSBs called Solo-RBT (SAMO Biomedica, Bologna, Italy), which has some advantages: (1) the procedure is easily performed by one operator alone; (2) the instrument can be adjusted for each patient according to age and weight; and (3) the instrument can be completely disassembled for decontamination and heat sterilization. This study describes our experience with Solo-RBT in the diagnosis of intestinal dysganglionoses. Materials and Methods: Between February 2000 and January 2005, we performed RSBs on 389 patients. Detailed information regarding patients, technique, histochemical staining, diagnostic criteria, complications, and diagnoses are provided. Moreover, patients were divided in 3 age-related groups to compare results. Results: One thousand twelve biopsies were performed on 389 patients. Age range at biopsy was 4 days to 66 years. Median age was 2.4 years. Each patient underwent a mean of 2.6 biopsies. Fifty-nine patients experienced complications, including 2 persistent rectal bleedings (0.5%) in patients younger than 1 year and 57 inadequate biopsies (14.5%). Neither perforation nor pelvic sepsis occurred. Sixty-five cases of Hirschsprung's disease and 58 of intestinal neuronal dysplasia have been diagnosed with Solo-RBT. Conclusions: The very low incidence of major complications proved that Solo-RBT is safe and effective. The wide age range at biopsy confirms the great versatility of this tool. Our study demonstrated that age does not represent a risk factor for inadequacy of the specimen; however, it showed that patients younger than 1 year have a higher risk of major complications. Therefore, although Solo-RBT increases safety and reliability of RSBs, great attention should be paid when this procedure is performed in newborns and infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1048
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Diagnosis
  • Hirschsprung
  • Histochemistry
  • Intestinal neuronal dysplasia
  • Rectal suction biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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