Hirschsprung’s disease is a condition in which nerve cells called ganglia have not formed on the inner wall of the bowel. This causes the bowel to contract and not relax, obstructing the lower intestine. Boys are about 10 times more likely to have the disease than girls. Again, surgery is used to correct the malformation. Surgeons will identify the bowel section without ganglia, cut it out, and reattach the two ends of healthy bowel. Sometimes a colostomy, or the surgical removal of some of the bowels, is necessary, and the surgeons will do the final repair at six to 12 months of age. Many babies who have undergone this procedure will develop and lead normal lives, since enough functioning bowel remains for digestion. However, a small number of babies with Hirschsprung’s disease also have an inflammation of the large intestine called colitis, which may complicate surgery and can be life threatening.
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