Chronic Anal and Perianal Pain Resolved With MRI

1 Department of Radiology, Section of Abdominal Imaging, Erasmus MC, University Hospital Rotterdam, Rm Hs-257, 's-Gravendijkwal 2303015 CE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
American Journal of Roentgenology (Impact Factor: 2.73). 05/2013; 200(5):1034-41. DOI: 10.2214/AJR.12.8813
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to assess the diagnostic value of anorectal MRI in the care of patients with chronic anal and perianal pain but without findings of abnormalities in the clinical workup.

Materials and methods:
Patients referred from a tertiary department of colorectal surgery to the MRI unit with clinically occult chronic anal and perianal pain were included. MRI of the anorectum was performed with an endoanal or pelvic phased-array coil. The images from all examinations were read by two radiologists. MRI findings were correlated with clinical follow-up data.

The study group (103 patients) was stratified into patients with no history of anorectal disease (n = 60) and those who had a history of surgery for anorectal disease (n = 43). MRI findings suggested the final diagnoses in 40 patients (39%). These diagnoses were 28 cases of suppurative lesions (27%), 11 cases of painful scarring of the anus (11%), and one case of metastasis to the sacrum (1%). Suppurative lesions were surgically proved with marked relief of pain after surgery. In the other patients the final diagnoses were 37 cases of levator ani syndrome (36%) and 26 cases of unspecified functional anorectal pain (25%). No MRI abnormalities were found in 33 of the patients with levator ani syndrome and 26 of the patients with unspecified anorectal pain. The two readers had very good agreement (κ = 0.92). The patients with a history of anorectal disease had significantly more MRI findings of abnormalities (60%) than did patients without a history of anorectal disease (23%). The positive predictive value of MRI was 91%, and the negative predictive value was 100%.

In 39% of patients, MRI showed abnormalities that were clinically confirmed as the final diagnosis. Surgical treatment will especially benefit patients with suppurative lesions, resulting in relief of pain.

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