Male sexual and urinary function after laparoscopic total mesorectal excision

Mario Morino, Umberto Parini, Marco Ettore Allaix, Gabriella Monasterolo, Riccardo Brachet Contul, Corrado Garrone
Surgical Endoscopy 2009, 23 (6): 1233-40

BACKGROUND: Urinary and sexual dysfunction are potential complications of rectal surgery for cancer. This study retrospectively evaluated the frequency of such complications after laparoscopic total mesorectal excision (LTME) with autonomic nerve preservation.

METHODS: For this study, 50 men younger than 75 years who underwent radical LTME for mid and low rectal cancer were followed up for at least 12 months, interviewed, and administered a standardized questionnaire about postoperative functional outcomes and quality of life.

RESULTS: Sexual desire was maintained by 55.6%, ability to engage in intercourse by 57.8%, and ability to achieve orgasm and ejaculation by 37.8% of the patients. Distance of the tumor from the anal verge and adjuvant or neoadjuvant treatments were the significant predictors of poor postoperative sexual function. Seven patients (14%) presented transitory postoperative urinary dysfunction, all of whom were medically treated. Tumor stage and distance from the anal verge were independently associated with the postoperative global International Prostatic Symptom Score (IPSS). No differences were observed in urinary quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS: In this series, LTME did not reproduce or improve on sexual and urinary dysfunction outcomes obtained in the best open TME series. Further trials are needed to evaluate functional outcome in rectal cancer patients.

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