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 of: November 20, 2015
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Brad W. Warner, MD - Pediatric Surgery
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