, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 443-445

Successful transvaginal repair of a rectovaginal fistula developing after double-stapled anastomosis in low anterior resection: Report of four cases

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Abstract

The management of postoperative rectovaginal fistula (RVF) after low anterior resection for rectal cancer is difficult and the results are often unsatisfactory. Among 140 patients with rectal cancer who underwent low anterior resection with a double-stapled anastomosis at our hospital between 1986 and 1996, 4 (2.9%) developed RVF as a post-operative complication. The RVF developed gradually from 9 to 128 days after low anterior resection. We describe herein our technique of using a modified transvaginal approach for RVF repair with a diverting colostomy. In all four patients, the RVFs were completely eradicated with reestablishment of intestinal continuity and did not recur during the mean follwup period of 29.5 months, ranging from 12 to 67 months. This report serves to demonstrate that emerging RVFs secondary to stapled anastomosis in low anterior resection for rectal cancer must be recognized, and that a modified transvaginal approach provides an effective method of repair.