COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Analysis of patients with poor outcome of rectocele repair

J H van Dam, W C Hop, W R Schouten
Diseases of the Colon and Rectum 2000, 43 (11): 1556-60
11089592

PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to analyze the prognostic value of clinical data and physiologic tests in patients undergoing rectocele repair for obstructed defecation.

METHODS: Between 1988 and 1996, 89 consecutive female patients with obstructed defecation caused by a rectocele were enrolled in the study. Median age at time of presentation was 55 (range, 35-81) years. All patients underwent a combined transvaginal and transanal rectocele repair. End evaluation to assess long-term results was performed by an independent observer after a median duration of follow up of 52 (range, 12-92) months. The presence of the following five symptoms was evaluated: prolonged and unsuccessful straining at stool, feelings of incomplete evacuation, manual assistance during defecation, false urge to defecate, and a stool frequency of less than three times per week. When none or just one of these symptoms was present, outcome of rectocele repair was considered successful. The outcome was considered as a failure when two or more of these symptoms were recorded. Furthermore, all patients were asked to score the outcome of their operations as excellent, good, moderate, or poor. Clinical data and the results of physiologic tests obtained in patients with a poor outcome of surgery were compared with those obtained in patients with a successful outcome.

RESULTS: Objective outcome of rectocele repair, based on the presence of symptoms, was found to be successful in 63 (71 percent) patients. Sixty-one patients considered outcome of surgery excellent or good (69 percent). Graded subjective outcomes between the two groups showed significantly better grades in cases of success. Duration of symptoms, number of symptoms, age, parity, and previous hysterectomy had no influence on the final outcome of surgery. Defecographic parameters, such as size of the rectocele, barium trapping in the rectocele, poor rectal evacuation, or intussusception, had no prognostic value. Signs of anismus based on defecography, electromyography, and balloon-expulsion studies did not influence outcome of surgery. The presence of symptoms such as defecation frequency, manual assistance, severe straining, false urge to defecate, or feelings of incomplete evacuation had no impact on the outcome. However, in patients without a daily urge to defecate or with a stool frequency of less than once per week, results of rectocele repair were significantly worse than in patients with a daily urge to defecate or a defecation frequency of more than once per week or both. In 14 of 26 patients with a poor outcome, colonic transit studies were performed. A delayed passage was observed throughout the entire colon in seven patients, in the left part of the colon and the rectosigmoid colon in four patients, and in the rectosigmoid colon in one patient. In two patients colonic transit was normal.

CONCLUSIONS: Combined transvaginal and transanal rectocele repair is beneficial for the majority of patients with obstructed defecation. In patients without a daily urge to defecate or a stool frequency of less than once per week, indicating colonic malfunctioning, the outcome of rectocele repair seems to be poor.

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