In Hirschsprung's disease, certain nerve cells (ganglion cells) in a portion of the colon are missing. Because the muscles in that area can't relax, the muscle contractions that normally push food and digestive waste through that part of the colon can't occur. The picture on the right shows a colon in which the rectum lacks ganglion nerve cells, causing swelling in the area above it.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||John Pope, MD - Pediatrics|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Brad W. Warner, MD - Pediatric Surgery|
|Last Revised||April 13, 2012|