Comparison of changes in rectal area and volume during MR evacuation proctography in healthy and constipated adults

Susrutha Puthanmadhom Narayanan, Mayank Sharma, Joel G. Fletcher, Ronald A. Karwoski, David R. Holmes, Adil E. Bharucha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: During proctography, rectal emptying is visually estimated by the reduction in rectal area. The correlation between changes in rectal area, which is a surrogate measure of volume, is unclear. Our aims were to compare the change in rectal area and volume during magnetic resonance (MR) proctography and to compare these parameters with rectal balloon expulsion time (BET). Methods: In 49 healthy and 46 constipated participants, we measured BET and rectal area and volume with a software program before and after participants expelled rectal gel during proctography. Key Results: All participants completed both tests; six healthy and 17 constipated patients had a prolonged (>60 seconds) BET. During evacuation, the reduction in rectal area and volume was lower in participants with an abnormal than a normal BET (P < 0.01). The reduction in rectal area and volume were strongly correlated (r = 0.93, P < 0.001) and equivalent for identifying participants with abnormal BET. Among participants with less evacuation, the reduction in rectal area underestimated the reduction in rectal volume. A rectocele larger than 2 cm was observed in eight of 18 (44%) participants in whom the difference between change in volume and area was ˃10% but only 14 of 77 (18%) participants in whom the difference was ≤10% (P = 0.03). Conclusions: Measured with MR proctography, the rectal area is reasonably accurate for quantifying rectal emptying and equivalent to rectal volume for distinguishing between normal and abnormal BET. When evacuation is reduced, the change in rectal area may underestimate the change in rectal volume.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13608
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019



  • anorectum
  • constipation
  • defecatory disorders
  • defecography
  • pelvic floor dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology

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