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Hospital Surgeries for Female Fecal Incontinence Stable

But charges for procedures increase substantially, with significant impact on health care system

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The number of women undergoing in-hospital surgical treatments for fecal incontinence remained stable between 1998 and 2003, but total charges for the procedures rose substantially, researchers report in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Vivian W. Sung, M.D., of Brown Medical School in Providence, R.I., and colleagues used national databases to compile statistics on the number of women undergoing various forms of corrective surgery for fecal incontinence. They also analyzed trends in complications, amounts billed and payments received.

The total number of women undergoing procedures during the study period was 21,547, median age 48.9 years, and the number of procedures performed per year remained stable. Anal sphincteroplasty represented 98.6 percent of all procedures. The overall risk of death during surgery remained stable over the course of the study period at 0.02 percent, while the number of in-hospital complications declined slightly, from 15.7 percent to 14.6 percent. Total hospital charges for admissions associated with fecal incontinence rose from $34 million in 1998 to $57.5 million in 2003.

"Future studies should further isolate the cost of this disorder, including medical and surgical options, and the economic impact for patients, families and society," the authors conclude.

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