Integration of transanal specimen extraction into laparoscopic anterior resection with total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer: a consecutive series of 179 patients

Morris E Franklin, Song Liang, Karla Russek
Surgical Endoscopy 2013, 27 (1): 127-32

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This prospective study focused on patients with rectal cancer who underwent transanal specimen extraction after laparoscopic anterior resection with total mesorectal excision and specifically aims to investigate whether the transanal approach can be accepted as a safe and effective method for extracting the malignant specimen from the peritoneal cavity.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A prospectively designed database of a consecutive series of patients undergoing laparoscopic low anterior resection for rectal malignancy with various tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) classifications from April 1991 to May 2011 at the Texas Endosurgery Institute was analyzed. Patient selection for transanal specimen extraction and intracorporeal anastomosis was made on the basis of size of the pathology and distance of rectal lesions from the anal verge.

RESULTS: 179 anterior resections were completed laparoscopically with intracorporeal anastomosis and transanal specimen extraction. The operating time for the entire procedures including resection, anastomosis, and specimen extraction was 170.9 ± 51.2 min, blood loss during the procedures was 86.4 ± 37.7 ml, and distance of the lower edge of the lesion from the anal verge was measured to be 11.3 ± 7.3 cm. Postoperatively, three patients developed anastomotic leakage with a leak rate of 1.7%, and the overall major complication rate after the procedures was 5.0%. Length of hospital stay was 6.9 ± 2.8 days. Two-year follow-up showed development of anal stenosis in three patients (2.0%) and erectile dysfunction in one patient (0.36%) after surgery. Finally, 9 out of 179 patients who underwent laparoscopic anterior resection with transanal specimen extraction were confirmed to have cancer recurrence, with 2-year local recurrence rate of 5.0%.

CONCLUSIONS: Transanal specimen extraction in laparoscopic rectal cancer resection is a safe and effective approach with comparable local cancer recurrence rate and postoperative complication rates, suggesting it can be integrated into laparoscopic anterior resection for rectal cancer.

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