Does anastomotic leakage impair functional results and quality of life after laparoscopic sphincter-saving total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer? A case-matched study
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Anastomotic leakage (AL) after total mesorectal excision (TME) for rectal cancer is suspected to alter function. However, very few reports have been devoted to this problem. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of AL on function and quality of life (QoL) after laparoscopic TME for cancer.
A total of 170 patients who underwent laparoscopic TME and sphincter-saving surgery for mid and low rectal cancer were included (67 % after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy). Twenty-one patients with AL were assessed for function and QoL (Short Form 36 (SF-36), Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life (FIQL), CR-29, and Wexner’s score) at the most recent follow-up. These patients were matched to 42 patients without AL according to sex, body mass index, ypTNM, radiotherapy, and type of anastomosis.
After a median follow-up of 30 months, AL significantly impaired physical activity (SF-36) (p = 0.004), self-respect (FIQL) (p = 0.029), wear pad’s score (Wexner’s score) (p = 0.043), and blood and mucus in stool score (CR-29) (p = 0.001). Overall Wexner’s score did not show any significant difference in the two groups, 8.9 in AL patients vs. 11.6 in patients without AL (p = 0.1).
AL significantly impairs both functional results and quality of life after laparoscopic sphincter-saving TME for rectal cancer. However, the observed difference was only limited, leading to similar outcomes on most of the tested scores. Patients with AL should be warned that if they initially experience severely impaired results, outcomes tend with time to become similar to those observed in noncomplicated patients.
KeywordsRectal cancer Laparoscopy Anastomotic leakage Local recurrence Oncologic results
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