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Laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy in the management of solitary rectal ulcer syndrome: a cause for optimism?

AIM: The treatment of solitary rectal ulcer syndrome (SRUS) is notoriously difficult. Laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy (LVMR) is a nonresectional technique for patients with full thickness external rectal prolapse and internal prolapse with obstructed defaecation syndrome (ODS), features associated in the pathogenesis of SRUS. Our aim was to assess the short- and long-term efficacy of LVMR in treating SRUS.

METHOD: Forty-eight patients with SRUS who underwent LVMR over a 15-year period (December 1996 to July 2012) were identified from a prospectively maintained electronic database.

RESULTS: Forty-eight patients, 38 (79%) women, median age 43 (18-80) years, median body mass index 26 (21-40) kg/m(2) underwent LVMR for SRUS after initial biofeedback. The median follow-up was 33 months (95% CI 31-55, range 1-186 months); 52% were followed for more than 3 years and 13 (27%) for more than 5 years. Five (10%) had relapsed following a response to stapled transanal rectal resection (STARR; 10 additional patients have had a continued response to STARR). Eleven (23%) had intermittent reducible external prolapse. Epithelial ulcer healing was reported in all patients at 3 months. The ODS scores improved by 68% (P < 0.0001) and quality of life (QoL; Birmingham Bowel and Urinary Symptoms Questionnaire-22) scores improved by 45% (P < 0.0001). There was a significant improvement in bowel visual analogue scale (VAS) scores at 3 and 12 months (P = 0.0007). Sustained improvement in QoL and VAS scores was maintained at 2 years and continued in the 52% followed up for between 3 and 15 years. There were four (8%) symptomatic ODS recurrences: posterior rectal wall prolapse successfully treated by STARR (3) and one symptom free for 2 years following a temporary loop ileostomy. There were two recurrences (4%).

CONCLUSION: LVMR appears to provide a sustained improvement in QoL, VAS and patient satisfaction in patients with SRUS. Morbidity, recurrence and safety profiles are low.

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