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Endoscopic placement of self-expandable metallic stents for rectovaginal fistula after colorectal resection: a comparison with proximal diverting ileostomy alone

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Self-expandable metal stents can be used to treat patients with rectovaginal fistula after colorectal resection for cancer.


Fifteen patients with rectovaginal fistula, after colorectal resection for cancer, were treated with endoscopic placement of a self-expandable metal stent. In four patients, a diverting proximal stoma had been performed elsewhere. Mean age was 58 years. All patients had preoperative radiotherapy. In ten patients, the stent was placed as initial form of treatment. Four patients were referred after multiple failed operations. The control group consisted of ten patients who had rectovaginal fistula and underwent proximal diverting ileostomy and percutaneous drainage of the surrounding abscess


One patient was not able to tolerate the stent, which was removed. At a mean follow-up of 22 months, the rectovaginal fistula healed in 12 patients. In the remaining two patients, the fistula has reduced significantly in size to allow a successful flap transposition. The fistula healed only in five out of the ten patients who had only a proximal ileostomy.


Endoscopic placement of self-expandable metal stents represents a valid adjunctive to treat patients with rectovaginal fistula, after colorectal resection for cancer.

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Antonietta Lamazza, Enrico Fiori, Antonio V. Sterpetti, Alberto Schillaci, Alessandro De Cesare and Emanuele Lezoche have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Correspondence to Antonio V. Sterpetti.

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Lamazza, A., Fiori, E., Sterpetti, A.V. et al. Endoscopic placement of self-expandable metallic stents for rectovaginal fistula after colorectal resection: a comparison with proximal diverting ileostomy alone. Surg Endosc 30, 797–801 (2016).

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