Management of chronic constipation with refractory symptoms can be challenging. Although new drugs and behavioral treatments have improved outcome, when they fail, there is little guidance on what to do next. At this juncture, typically most doctors may refer for surgical intervention although total colectomy is associated with morbidity including complications such as recurrent bacterial overgrowth. Recently, colonic manometry with sensory/tone/compliance assessment with a barostat study has been shown to be useful. Technical challenges aside, adequate preparation, and appropriate equipment and knowledge of colonic physiology are keys for a successful procedure. The test itself appears to be safe with little complications. Currently, colonic manometry is usually performed with a 6-8 solid state or water-perfused sensor probe, although high-resolution fiber-optic colonic manometry with better spatiotemporal resolutions may become available in the near future. For a test that has evolved over 3 decades, normal physiology and abnormal findings for common phenotypes of chronic constipation, especially slow transit constipation, have been well characterized only recently largely through the advent of prolonged 24-hour ambulatory colonic manometry studies. Even though the test has been largely restricted to specialized laboratories at the moment, emerging new technologies and indications may facilitate its wider use in the near future.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology