Published online Mar 27, 2021. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v13.i3.303
Peer-review started: December 2, 2020
First decision: December 24, 2020
Revised: January 2, 2021
Accepted: January 14, 2021
Article in press: January 14, 2021
Published online: March 27, 2021
With advancements in laparoscopic technology and the wide application of linear staplers, sphincter-saving procedures are increasingly performed for low rectal cancer. However, sphincter-saving procedures have led to the emergence of a unique clinical disorder termed anterior rectal resection syndrome. Colonic pouch anastomosis improves the quality of life of patients with rectal cancer > 7 cm from the anal margin. But whether colonic pouch anastomosis can reduce the incidence of rectal resection syndrome in patients with low rectal cancer is unknown.
To compare postoperative and oncological outcomes and bowel function of straight and colonic pouch anal anastomoses after resection of low rectal cancer.
We conducted a retrospective study of 72 patients with low rectal cancer who underwent sphincter-saving procedures with either straight or colonic pouch anastomoses. Functional evaluations were completed preoperatively and at 1, 6, and 12 mo postoperatively. We also compared perioperative and oncological outcomes between two groups that had undergone low or ultralow anterior rectal resection.
There were no significant differences in mean operating time, blood loss, time to first passage of flatus and excrement, and duration of hospital stay between the colonic pouch and straight anastomosis groups. The incidence of anastomotic leakage following colonic pouch construction was lower (11.4% vs 16.2%) but not significantly different than that of straight anastomosis. Patients with colonic pouch construction had lower postoperative low anterior resection syndrome scores than the straight anastomosis group, suggesting better bowel function (preoperative: 4.71 vs 3.89, P = 0.43; 1 mo after surgery: 34.2 vs 34.7, P = 0.59; 6 mo after surgery: 22.70 vs 29.0, P < 0.05; 12 mo after surgery: 15.5 vs 19.5, P = 0.01). The overall recurrence and metastasis rates were similar (4.3% and 11.4%, respectively).
Colonic pouch anastomosis is a safe and effective procedure for colorectal reconstruction after low and ultralow rectal resections. Moreover, colonic pouch construction may provide better functional outcomes compared to straight anastomosis.
Core Tip: With the increased use of sphincter-saving procedures, improvements of the quality of life of patients undergoing low or ultralow anterior rectal resection have become increasingly important. Our study demonstrates that the use of colonic pouch anastomosis gives a superior functional result when compared with traditional straight anastomosis for low rectal cancer. Therefore, colonic pouch anastomosis is a favorable option for patients undergoing low anterior or ultralow anterior resection.