Techniques in Coloproctology

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 327–333 | Cite as

Management of acute perianal sepsis in neutropenic patients with hematological malignancy

  • B. Baker
  • M. Al-Salman
  • F. Daoud


In neutropenic patients with acute perianal sepsis in the setting of hematological malignancy, the classical clinical features of abscess formation are lacking. Additionally, the role of surgical intervention is not well established. In this review, we discuss the challenges and controversy regarding diagnosis and optimal management when clear surgical guidelines are absent. In the literature, there is great diversity in the surgical approach to these patients, which leads to a high percentage of diagnostic errors, risks of complications, and unnecessary interventions. We review the literature and assess whether surgical intervention produces better outcomes than a non-surgical approach. Studies published on perianal sepsis in neutropenic cancer patients were identified by searching PubMed using the following key words: “perianal sepsis/abscesses, anorectal sepsis/abscess, neutropenia, hematological malignancy, cancer”. No randomized or prospective studies on the management of acute perianal sepsis in hematological malignancies were found. The largest retrospective study and most comprehensive clinical data demonstrated that 42 % of patients were treated successfully without surgical intervention and without morbidity or mortality related to treatment chosen. Small retrospective studies advocated surgical intervention, while the majority of successes were in a non-operative treatment. It is difficult to formulate a conclusion given the small retrospective series on management of neutropenic patients with hematological malignancies. While there is no evidence mandating a routine surgical approach in this category of patients, non-surgical management including careful follow-up to determine whether the patient’s condition is deteriorating or treatment has failed is an acceptable approach in selected patients without pathognomonic features of abscess. Comprehensive and well-designed prospective studies are needed to firmly establish the guidelines of treatment protocols.


Perianal sepsis/abscess Neutropenia Hematological malignancy 



The authors thank Miss Bayan Baker, research assistant at Sarah Lawrence College Chemistry Laboratory for the final editing of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Surgical Oncology DepartmentKing Hussein Cancer CenterAmmanJordan

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