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Malone Appendicostomy: Relief from Chronic Constipation

Apr 17, 2018
Blog Malone

A Malone appendicostomy (MACE) is a surgery that makes a pathway from the belly button to the colon. It is used as a treatment option for children with chronic constipation, with or without fecal soiling. Chronic constipation can be caused by several different diagnoses. Some of those include anorectal malformation, Hirschprung disease, colonic dysmotility and spinal anomalies.

During the Malone procedure, the surgeon connects part of the appendix to the abdomen or belly button, creating a one way valve between the skin and colon. This valve allows a catheter to go in but no fluids can come out. It is made with your child’s natural tissue, so no artificial device is used. Each day you your child’s colon can be cleaned out when they instill a special solution through the catheter.

Our body’s natural response to an artificial opening in the skin is to heal over the site. In order to keep the skin of your child’s abdomen or belly button open after surgery, a catheter will remain in place for one month. After the catheter is removed, an ACE stopper or “plug” is kept in the opening for six months. This is similar to when someone gets his or her ears pierced, an earring remains in the opening to prevent the hole from closing. Your child will take this plug out once a day when it is time to do their flush. When the flush is preformed, a special catheter called a coude, will be used. The solution used in the flush will be based on your individual child.

What to expect after surgery?

It is very uncommon for Malone sites to become infected, however it is very common for them to have drainage. This drainage is typically clear or light yellow and it may have a smell or odor. Children can return to normal activities, like gym and sports, one week after surgery. Enema fluid will need to be flushed through the catheter tube once your child is eating normally. This flush will be done by the care team during the hospital stay; once discharged, you will be performing the daily flushes through the catheter. At the post-operative appointment, the healthcare team will teach you how to insert the coude catheter in the Malone site as how to place the silicon ACE stopper or “plug.” This plug keeps the skin from becoming stenotic, or narrowed.

How to care for the Malone during the first month after surgery?

Keep the Malone tube secured to your child’s abdomen with a clear tape dressing until the follow up appointment. You may replace this clear dressing with tape as needed, but do not completely cover the site. The stitches may fall out before the post-operative follow-up appointment. If this happens, be sure to secure the small tube with tape or another clear dressing. Do not cover the belly button. It is not uncommon for the stitch holding the catheter in place or skin under the tape become irritated or red. If this happens, notify your child’s provider. Your child may shower, swim and take tub baths after surgery. Clean around the tube insertion (belly button) daily with soap and water, patting it dry and use a Q-tip to clean any dried drainage that settles in the belly button. You may also use 'No rinse foam cleanser' to clean the insertion site.

When should you call your child’s provider?

  • The small tube falls out -before you child’s post operative visit
  • There is redness or any hard area around the site
  • Fever over 101 degrees
  • Abdominal swelling during or after the flush

For more information about Nationwide Children's Hospital's Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction, click here.

Featured Expert

Meghan Fisher, BSN, RN
Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction
Laura Brubaker, BSN, RN
Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction
Onnalisa Nash, CPNP-PC
Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction

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700 Children’s features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.