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Laparoscopic ventral rectopexy for external rectal prolapse improves constipation and avoids de novo constipation.

OBJECTIVE: Abdominal rectopexy is ideal for otherwise healthy patients with rectal prolapse because of low recurrence, yet after posterior rectopexy, half of the patients complain of severe constipation. Resection mitigates this dysfunction but risks a pelvic anastomosis. The novel nerve-sparing ventral rectopexy appears to avoid postero-lateral rectal dissection denervation and thus postoperative constipation. We aimed to evaluate our functional results with laparoscopic ventral rectopexy.

METHOD: Consecutive rectal prolapse patients undergoing laparoscopic ventral rectopexy were prospectively assessed (Wexner Constipation and Faecal Incontinence Severity Index scores) pre-, 3 months postoperatively, and late (> 12 months).

RESULTS: Sixty-five consecutive patients with external rectal prolapse (median age 72 years, 34% > 80 years, median follow up 19 months) underwent laparoscopic ventral rectopexy. There was one recurrence (2%) and one conversion. Morbidity (17%) and mortality (0%) were low. Median operating time was 140 min and median length of stay 2 days. At 3 months, constipation was improved in 72% and mildly induced in 2% (median pre-and postoperative Wexner scores 9 vs 4, P < 0.0001). Continence was improved in 83% and mild incontinence was induced or worsened in 5% (median pre- and postoperative incontinence score 40 vs 4, P < 0.0001). Significant improvement in both constipation and incontinence (P < 0.0001) remained at median 24 months late follow-up.

CONCLUSION: Ventral rectopexy has a recurrent prolapse rate of < 5%, similar to that of posterior rectopexy. Its correction of preoperative constipation and avoidance of de novo constipation appear superior to historical functional results of posterior rectopexy. A laparoscopic approach allows low morbidity and short hospital stay, even in those patients over 80 years of age in whom a perineal approach is usually preferred for safety.

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