Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Minimally invasive treatment of mid-low rectovaginal fistula: a transanal endoscopic surgery study.

Surgical Endoscopy 2020 September
BACKGROUND: Treatment of rectovaginal fistulas (RVFs) is extremely difficult. No standard surgical procedure is accepted worldwide. The aim of this article was to evaluate a minimally invasive procedure for the repair of mid-low rectovaginal fistula.

METHODS: This is a retrospective review of 17 patients who underwent minimally invasive surgery for the repair of mid-low rectovaginal fistulas (located in the lower or middle one-third of the vaginal wall) at our center between August 2016 and October 2018. The anal approach was adopted for 12 patients: 6 patients were treated directly by rectal mucosal advancement flap (RMAF) with transanal endoscopic surgery (TES), while the other 6 patients underwent initial TES exploration followed by RMAF procedure under direct vision. The vaginal approach was adopted for 5 patients: 3 patients were treated under TES directly and the other 2 were treated under direct vision after initial TES exploration. A total of 9 (52.94%) patients received diverting ileostomy-5 anal approach patients and 4 vaginal approach patients.

RESULTS: Median age of the patients was 46 years (range 10-76 years), and median BMI was 21.9 (range 17.9-28.1). Median operative time was 75 min (range 60-120 min), and median duration of postoperative hospital stay was 8 days (range 6-15 days). Recurrence was seen in 3/12 anal approach patients vs. 0/5 vaginal approach patients. Both the median preoperative and the median postoperative Wexner score were 0 (range 0-2). The median follow-up time was 8 months (range 2-24). No severe complications occurred in any patient.

CONCLUSION: The TES procedure for the treatment of mid-low rectovaginal fistulas avoids any incision of the abdomen and perineal area and appears to be a safe and feasible procedure. This minimally invasive technique is still evolving and is likely to gain wide acceptance in the near future.

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