RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Laparoscopic suture rectopexy without resection is effective treatment for full-thickness rectal prolapse.

PURPOSE: The study was undertaken to evaluate the role of laparoscopic suture rectopexy without resection as a safe and effective treatment for full-thickness rectal prolapse.

METHOD: Data were prospectively collected and analyzed on 25 patients who underwent laparoscopic rectopexy without resection for full-thickness rectal prolapse between October 1994 and July 1998. Four patients had conversions from laparoscopic to open surgery. Two patients had recurrent prolapse previously managed by Delorme's procedure. Another two patients had solitary rectal ulcer syndrome associated with their full-thickness rectal prolapse. There were a total of three males. Mean age was 72 (range, 37-89) years. The preoperative and postoperative course of each patient was followed up, with attention paid to first bowel movement, hospital stay, duration of surgery, fecal incontinence, constipation, recurrent prolapse, morbidity, and mortality. Follow-up was made by clinic appointments and, if necessary, by telephone review.

RESULTS: Median follow-up period was 26 (range, 1-41) months. Mean duration of surgery was 96 (range, 50-150) minutes. Postoperatively, the median time for first bowel movement was four (range, 2-10) days. Median hospital stay was seven (range, 3-23) days. Overall, 15 patients (60 percent) either improved or remained unchanged with respect to continence. There was an improvement in 10 of 20 patients (50 percent) among those with continence Grade 2 or more (P < 0.05). Seven patients (28 percent) remained incontinent. No patient became more incontinent after surgery. Constipation, which was present in 9 patients (36 percent) preoperatively, affected 11 patients (44 percent) after rectopexy (P > 0.05; not significant). Postoperative morbidity included a port site hernia and deep venous thrombosis in one patient, a repaired rectal perforation, a retroperitoneal hematoma with prolonged ileus (1 case), and a superficial wound infection (1 case). One patient with solitary rectal ulcer syndrome in the laparoscopic surgery group remained unhealed despite resolution of the rectal prolapse after rectopexy and required abdominoperineal resection. Two patients (laparoscopic surgery = 1 and open surgery = 1) had severe constipation after surgery and both required loop colostomies. There were no cases of operative mortality or recurrent prolapse.

CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic suture rectopexy without resection is both safe and effective in this frequently frail population and offers a minimally invasive approach that may have potential advantages for selected groups of patients with full-thickness rectal prolapse.

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