Dis Colon Rectum 2005 Oct;48(10):1858-65; discussion 1865-7
Department of Surgery, Danube Hospital/SMZ-Ost, Vienna, Austria.
Purpose: Intersphincteric resection of low rectal tumors is a surgical technique extending rectal resection into the intersphincteric space. This procedure is performed by a synchronous abdominoperineal approach with mesorectal excision and excision of the entire or part of the internal sphincter. This study was designed to evaluate the long-term results of this method focused on continence function and oncologic results.
Methods: From 1984 to 2000, a total of 121 patients were operated on. The patients were evaluated prospectively according to a detailed preoperative and postoperative program.
Results: One hundred seventeen patients had rectal cancers, two had dysplastic villous adenomas, and two had carcinoid tumors. Cancers were staged according to the Dukes classification (Stage A in 41 percent, Stage B in 28 percent, and Stage C in 31 percent; median distance from the anal margin, 3 (range, 1-5) cm). Postoperative complications were: one death because of pulmonary embolism, 5.1 percent developed an anastomotic fistula, one patient had a fistula to the bladder requiring reoperation, one patient with ileus needed relaparotomy as well as one for intra-abdominal hemorrhage and a small-bowel fistula. One patient developed a fistula after closing the protective colostomy. Five patients developed late strictures of the coloanal anastomosis. After a median follow-up of 72.86 months, 5.3 percent of patients developed local recurrence. The continence status was satisfactory with 16 patients (13.7 percent) showing continence for solid stool only, and 1 patient (0.8 percent) showing episodes of incontinence. A transient problem was a high stool frequency after closure of the protective stoma.
Conclusions: Intersphincteric resection is a valuable procedure for sphincter-saving rectal surgery. We showed that this technique has satisfactory long-term results in functional and oncologic respects. An important prerequisite is a careful preoperative evaluation of local tumor spread with rectal magnetic resonance imaging excluding infiltration of the external sphincter.