A rectal buttonhole tear, received during vaginal childbirth, can be very difficult to diagnose. It is vital to the future health and well-being of the woman concerned, however, that every attempt is made to observe if such an injury has occurred.
What is a rectal buttonhole tear?
A rectal buttonhole tear is an injury which damages the internal lining of the anal canal without causing damage to the anal sphincter which is normally associated with severe perineal tears.
If the damage also included the anal sphincter, it would be referred to as a 4th degree tear.
Why does it matter?
A rectal buttonhole tear can have an appalling impact on the woman affected if her injury is not diagnosed and repaired shortly after the birth of her baby.
A tear in the lining of the anal canal can cause the development of a fistula or hole which could allow wind and faecal matter to move between the anus and the vagina.
This means that the woman may find that she is starting to leak wind and/or faeces from her vagina.
Not only is such an experience shocking, it can also mean that the woman no longer has the ability to control the passing of wind and faeces. This, in turn, can affect her ability to work, socialise and care for her baby. It may mean that she has to undergo surgery at a later date which is less likely to be successful than had it happened at the time of the birth.
How is it diagnosed?
Severe perineal injury during childbirth is diagnosed through carefully and comprehensive examination of the woman shortly after the birth.
This means that, as well as a visual assessment of the woman’s perineum, she should undergo a digital, rectal examination where her medical professional inserts a gloved finger into the anus to check for any damage.
This should give the medical professional an indication as to whether any internal damage has occurred.
Furthermore, a rectal buttonhole tear needs to be clearly recorded as such to ensure that it receives the correct repair from an appropriately skilled practitioner.
Failing to recognise that a woman has suffered a rectal buttonhole tear can be devastating for the woman’s long-term physical and emotional state. Where such a failure occurred due to negligence on the part of medical professionals, a successful compensation claim can help the woman and her family to cope with the financial and physical problems which ensue.
Contact us today to discuss your experience with a specialist medical negligence solicitor if you are suffering with long-term symptoms due to a failure to diagnose your injury.
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If you, or your family member, has suffered a birth injury tear, please call us now for free, no obligation advice on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry.