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Laparoscopic Ventral Rectopexy Versus Stapled Transanal Rectal Resection for Treatment of Obstructed Defecation in the Elderly

Long-term Results of a Prospective Randomized Study

Madbouly, Khaled M., M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.S.(Glasg.); Mohii, Ahmed D., M.D.

Diseases of the Colon & Rectum: January 2019 - Volume 62 - Issue 1 - p 47–55
doi: 10.1097/DCR.0000000000001256
Original Contributions: Pelvic Floor
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BACKGROUND: Obstructed defecation is a common complaint in coloproctology. Many anal, abdominal, and laparoscopic procedures are adopted to correct the underlying condition.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare long-term functional outcome, recurrence rate, and quality of life between laparoscopic ventral rectopexy and stapled transanal rectal resection in the treatment of obstructed defecation.

DESIGN: This was a prospective randomized study.

SETTING: This study was performed at academic medical centers.

PATIENTS: Patients were included if they had obstructed defecation attributed to pelvic structural abnormalities that did not to respond to conservative measures. Exclusion criteria included nonrelaxing puborectalis, previous abdominal surgery, other anal pathology, and pudendal neuropathy.

INTERVENTION: Patients were randomly allocated to either laparoscopic ventral rectopexy (group 1) or stapled transanal rectal resection (group 2).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were improvement of modified obstructed defecation score and recurrences after ≥3 years of follow-up. Secondary outcomes were postoperative complications, continence status using Wexner incontinence score, and quality of life using Patient Assessment of Constipation–Quality of Life Questionnaire.

RESULTS: The study included 112 patients (56 in each arm). ASA score II was reported in 32 patients (18 in group 1 and 14 in group 2; p = 0.12), whereas 3 patients in each group had ASA score III. Minor postoperative complications were seen in 11 patients (20%) of group 1 and 14 patients of group 2 (25%; p = 0.65). During follow-up, 3 patients had fecal urgency after stapled transanal rectal resection but no sexual dysfunction in either procedure. After 6 months, modified obstructed defecation score improvement >50% was reported in 73% versus 82% in groups 1 and 2 (p = 0.36). After a mean follow-up of 41 months, recurrences of symptoms were reported in 7% in group 1 versus 24% in group 2 (p = 0.04). Six months postoperation, perineal descent improved >50% in defecogram in 80% of group 1 versus no improvement in group 2. Quality of life significantly improved in both groups after 6 months; however a significant long-term drop (>36 months) was seen only in group 2.

LIMITATIONS: Possible limitations of this study are the presence of a single operator and the absence of blindness of the technique for both patient and assessor.

CONCLUSIONS: In elderly patients even with comorbidities, both laparoscopic ventral rectopexy and stapled transanal rectal resection are safe and can improve function of the anorectum in patients with obstructed defecation attributed to structural abnormalities. Laparoscopic ventral rectopexy has better long-term functional outcome, less complications, and less recurrences compared with stapled transanal rectal resection. Perineal descent only improves after laparoscopic ventral rectopexy. Stapled transanal rectal resection was shown not to be the first choice in elderly patients with obstructed defecation unless they had a medical contraindication to laparoscopic procedures. See Video Abstract at

Department of Surgery, Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery, University of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt

Funding/Support: None reported.

Financial Disclosure: None reported.

Podium presentation at the meeting of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, Nashville, TN, May 19 to 23, 2018.

Correspondence: Khaled M. Madbouly, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.S.(Glasg.), Department of Surgery, University of Alexandria, El Raml Station, Alexandria, Egypt. E-mail:

© 2019 The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons