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Does my child require anoplasty and surgery for hernia?

Q: My son, 3 months old, is getting an anoplasty since the doctor says that his sphincter muscles are not around his anus where it should be. Can you give me information on the whole procedure of detecting and repairing the problem? He also has two small hernias. My son also has acid reflux, which is not getting any better.

A:You have raised three issues: 1. The anoplasty is done if the anus is not in its normal location. It is a safe procedure and if done well usually retains the faecal control. However, some of these children may continue to have problems like constipation for a long time, requiring laxatives or faecal softening agents. 2. If your child has hernias, they need to be repaired surgically as soon as possible. If the anoplasty is scheduled now, the hernias can be repaired at the same time. 3. Acid reflux is a common problem in little babies. If the symptoms are not significant, and the weight gain is normal, no treatment is usually necessary. He may be helped by proper feeding techniques, by lying him in a head-up position at all times. If this does not improve things, then he may need some medicines.

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