Functional results of delayed coloanal anastomosis after preoperative radiotherapy for lower third rectal cancer

E Olagne, J Baulieux, E de la Roche, M Adham, N Berthoux, O Bourdeix, J P Gerard, C Ducerf
Journal of the American College of Surgeons 2000, 191 (6): 643-9

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to assess functional outcomes of patients who had a delayed coloanal anastomosis for a lower third rectal cancer after preoperative radiotherapy.

STUDY DESIGN: From January 1988 to December 1997, 35 patients with an adenocarcinoma of the lower third of the rectum received preoperative radiotherapy (45Gy) followed by a rectal resection, combining an abdominal and transanal approach. Colorectal resection was performed about 32 days after the end of the radiotherapy. The distal colon stump was pulled through the anal canal. On postoperative day 5 the colonic stump was resected and a direct coloanal anastomosis performed without colostomia diversion.

RESULTS: There was no mortality. There was no leakage. One patient had a pelvic abscess. One patient had a necrosis of the left colon requiring reoperation. Another delayed coloanal anastomosis could be performed. Median followup was 43 months (range 6 to 113 months). Functional results were evaluated with a new scoring system including 13 items. Function was considered good in 59% and 70% at 1 and 2 years, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: This new procedure is a safe and effective sphincter-preserving operation that avoids a diverting stoma for patients with rectal cancer of the lower third of the rectum. This technique is well adapted for patients receiving preoperative radiotherapy, with low local morbidity and good functional results. Further adaptation could be imagined for a coelioscopic approach.

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