Evaluating the Surgeons' Perception of Difficulties of Two Techniques to Perform STARR for Obstructed Defecation Syndrome: A Multicenter Randomized Trial

Adolfo Renzi, Antonio Brillantino, Giandomenico Di Sarno, Francesco D'Aniello, Giuseppe Ferulano, Armando Falato
Surgical Innovation 2016, 23 (6): 563-571

BACKGROUND: After initial enthusiasm in the use of a dedicated curved stapler (CCS-30 Contour Transtar) to perform stapled transanal rectal resection (STARR) for obstructed defecation syndrome (ODS), difficulties have emerged in this surgical technique.

OBJECTIVE: First, to compare surgeons' perception of difficulties of STARR performed with only Transtar versus STARR performed with the combined use of linear staplers and Transtar to cure ODS associated with large internal prolapse and rectocele; second, to compare the postoperative incidence of the urge to defecate between the 2 STARR procedures.

DESIGN AND SETTING: An Italian multicenter randomized trial involving 25 centers of colorectal surgery.

PATIENTS: Patients with obstructed defecation syndrome and rectocele or rectal intussusception, treated between January and December 2012.

INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomly assigned to undergo STARR with a curved alone stapler (CAS group) or with the combined use of linear and curved staplers (LCS group).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary end-points were the evaluation of surgeons' perception of difficulties score and the incidence of the "urge to defecate" at 3-month follow up. Secondary end-points included duration of hospital stay, rates of early and late complications, incidence of "urge to defecate" at 6 and 12 months, success of the procedures at 12 months of follow-up.

RESULTS: Of 771 patients evaluated, 270 patients (35%) satisfied the criteria. Follow-up data were available for 254 patients: 128 patients (114 women) in the CAS group (mean age, 52.1; range, 39-70 years) and 126 (116 women) in LCS group (mean age, 50.7 years; range, 41-75 years). The mean surgeons' perception score, was 15.36 (SD, 3.93) in the CAS group and 12.26 (SD, 4.22) in the LCS group (P < .0001; 2-sample t test). At 3-month follow-up, urge to defecate was observed in 18 (14.6%) CAS group patients and in 13 (10.7%) LCS group patients (P = .34; Fisher's exact test). These values drastically decrease at 6 months until no urge to defecate in all patients at 12 months was observed. At 12-month follow-up, a successful outcome was achieved in 100 (78.1%) CAS group patients and in 105 (83.3%) LCS group patients (P = .34; Fisher's exact test). No significant differences between groups were observed in the hospital stay and rates of early or late complications occurring after STARR.

CONCLUSIONS: STARR with Transtar associated with prior decomposition of prolapse, using linear staplers, seems to be less difficult than that without decomposition. Both procedures appear to be safe and effective in the treatment of obstructed defecation syndrome resulting in similar success rates and complications.

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