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.
Current as ofDecember 12, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Brad W. Warner, MD - Pediatric Surgery, Critical Care Medicine
Medical Review:John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Brad W. Warner, MD - Pediatric Surgery, Critical Care Medicine