Intersphincteric resection for low rectal cancer: laparoscopic vs open surgery approach

C Laurent, T Paumet, F Leblanc, Q Denost, E Rullier
Colorectal Disease 2012, 14 (1): 35-41; discussion 42-3

AIM: Laparoscopic sphincter-saving surgery has been investigated for rectal cancer but not for tumours of the lower third. We evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of laparoscopic intersphincteric resection for low rectal cancer.

METHOD: From 1990 to 2007, patients with rectal tumour below 6 cm from the anal verge and treated by open or laparoscopic curative intersphincteric resection were included in a retrospective comparative study. Surgery included total mesorectal excision with internal sphincter excision and protected low coloanal anastomosis. Neoadjuvant treatment was given to patients with T3 or N+ tumours. Recurrence and survival were evaluated by the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the Logrank test. Function was assessed using the Wexner continence score.

RESULTS: Intersphincteric resection was performed in 175 patients with low rectal cancer: 110 had laparoscopy and 65 had open surgery. The two groups were similar according to age, sex, body mass index, ASA score, tumour stage and preoperative radiotherapy. Postoperative mortality (zero) and morbidity (23%vs 28%; P = 0.410) were similar in both groups. There was no difference in 5-year local recurrence (5%vs 2%; P = 0.349) and 5-year disease-free survival (70%vs 71%; P = 0.862). Function and continence scores (11 vs 12; P = 0.675) were similar in both groups.

CONCLUSION: Intersphincteric resection did not alter long-term tumour control of low rectal cancer. The safety and efficacy of the laparoscopic approach for intersphincteric resection are suggested by a similar short- and long-term outcome as obtained by open surgery.

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