Comparison of functional results and quality of life between intersphincteric resection and conventional coloanal anastomosis for low rectal cancer

Frédéric Bretagnol, Eric Rullier, Christophe Laurent, Frank Zerbib, Renaud Gontier, Jean Saric
Diseases of the Colon and Rectum 2004, 47 (6): 832-8

PURPOSE: The technique of intersphincteric resection permits sphincter preservation with good oncologic results in very low rectal cancer. This study aimed to investigate functional results and quality of life after intersphincteric resection compared with conventional coloanal anastomoses.

METHODS: From 1990 to 2000, 170 patients underwent total mesorectal excision with coloanal anastomosis for low rectal tumors. Questionnaires were obtained from 77 patients alive without colostomy: 37 had a conventional coloanal anastomosis and 40 had intersphincteric resection. Both groups were similar according to age, gender, anastomotic stenosis, colonic pouch, anastomotic leakage, preoperative radiotherapy, and follow-up (median, 56 months). Assessment included one functional and two quality-of-life questionnaires: the SF-36 Health Status and the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life score.

RESULTS: There was no difference in stool frequency, fragmentation, urgency, dyschesia, and alimentary restriction between patients with and without intersphincteric resection. Patients with intersphincteric resection had significantly worse continence (Wexner score, 10.8 vs. 6.9; P < 0.001) and needed more antidiarrheal drugs (60 vs. 35 percent; P = 0.04) than those without. Compared with conventional coloanal anastomoses, quality of life was altered by intersphincteric resection for the subscale embarrassment ( P < 0.01) in the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life score, whereas no difference of quality of life was observed with SF-36.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with conventional coloanal anastomoses, patients with intersphincteric resection have a higher risk of fecal incontinence and a slightly altered quality of life.

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