[Identification of pelvic autonomic nerves during partial and total mesorectal excision—influence parameters and significance for neurogenic bladder]

W Kneist, A Heintz, H K Wolf, T Junginger
Der Chirurg; Zeitschrift Für Alle Gebiete der Operativen Medizen 2004, 75 (3): 276-83

INTRODUCTION: The objective of the present prospective study was to determine the frequency of pelvic autonomic nerve preservation (PANP) during total mesorectal excision (TME) for rectal carcinoma, and to identify a possible link between PANP and postoperative micturition disturbances.

METHODS: Between March 1997 and February 2003, 229 patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum were operated on with sphincter preservation in 178 (78%) cases. In 101 (48%) patients, the tumor did not invade the muscularis propria. To determine influence parameters on the achievement of complete PANP, a multivariate analysis was performed. The number of complete-partial-or nonidentification of the nerves (superior hypogastric plexus up to the neurovascular bundles) was documented and correlated with micturition disturbances.

RESULTS: The pelvic autonomic nerves were identified completely in 169 (74%), partially in 25 (11%), and could not be demonstrated in 35 (15%) patients. Multivariate analysis showed multivisceral resection ( p<0.001), gender ( p<0.001), surgeon (<25 operations >, p<0.001), and tumor site (middle/upper third vs lower third of rectum, p= 0.011) to exert an independent influence on the achievement of complete PANP. Twenty (8.8%) patients needed a long-term urinary catheter. Preservation of the parasympathetic nerves was associated with low bladder dysfunction rates (4.1 vs 22.4%, p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: To minimize the risk of postoperative micturition disturbances due to neurogenic bladder, pelvic autonomic nerves should be identified during TME. Neurogenic bladder after TME is a useful parameter to assess the quality of surgical treatment for rectal carcinoma.

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