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INTRODUCTION: The improvement of surgical procedures and oncological outcomes in the treatment of low-ultralow rectal cancer, made important the evaluation of functional results. The aim of this study is to evaluate the functional results after open and laparoscopic approach.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: From our global experience, over the period 2000/2018, within the patients surgically treated for rectal cancer, we have gathered and studied 37 patients with low-ultralow site of lesion, submitted to sphincterpreserving surgery, subdivided based on the approach: 20 open, 17 laparoscopic, of which 8 robotic . For each type of procedure, as low and ultralow anterior resection, intersphinteric resection, abdominoperineal resection, were investigated functional outcomes, as bowel continence, urinary functions, male and female sexual functions, based on the following tests: Wexner Incontinence Score, International Prostatic Symptom Score, International Index of Erectile Function- 5, Female Sexual Function Index. The controls were performed before surgery and 3-6-12 months postoperatively. Statistical analisis: X2-test, impaired and paired t-test two tailed, Bonferroni post-hoctest.
RESULTS: The immediate surgical results and pathological features of the tumor are reported and evaluated. The evaluation of fecal continence in all patients submitted to rectal resection and primary anastomosis showed function compromission without differences statistically significant between the laparo and open approach. In the comparison between specific surgical procedures, the damage of continence function were more severe after intersphinteric resection mached with low-ultralow rectal resection. The rehabilitation therapies continued for several months after surgery showed clear improvement. The urinary continence, in male and female patients, did not show statistically significant alterations in the pre and postoperative comparison in relation to the approach and the type of resective intervention. The sexual function in male patients has had impairment after all type of surgical resection but the damage was more severe after intersphinteric resection. The female sexual function had not significant changes between pre and postoperative evaluation.
CONCLUSION: Bowel continence damage, urinary and sexual dysfunctions after surgical treatment for low-ultralow rectal cancer are frequent and form the low anterior resection syndrome. The severity of the syndrome is connected with the site of anastomosis. The rehabilitation therapies can play an important role in achieving the appreciable improvements of the functional alterations.