BACKGROUND: Indications for transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) have been extended to technically challenging tumors, which may be associated with an increased risk of peritoneal perforation (PP). The aim of the present study was to investigate the occurrence, management and outcome of PP in patients having TEM.
METHODS: All the patients who had TEM for rectal adenoma or adenocarcinoma in our unit were included. Patients in whom PP occurred (Group A) were compared to those without PP (Group B).
RESULTS: From 2007 to 2015, 194 TEM (116 men, median age 66 [range 21-100] years) were divided into Groups A (n = 28, 14%) and B (n = 166). The latter group included four patients, in whom a laparoscopy did not confirm suspicion of PP made during TEM. In 2 of 28 patients (7%), the diagnosis of PP was made postoperatively during reoperation for peritonitis. For the 26 other patients (93%), routine exploratory laparoscopy was performed with suture of the peritoneal defect on the pouch of Douglas in 24 cases and a rectal suture alone in 2 cases. Independent predictive factors for PP were: distance from the anal verge >10 cm (OR = 3.6), circumferential tumor (OR = 3.0) and anterior location (OR = 2.7). Hospital stay was significantly longer in Group A (7.5 [3-31] days) than in Group B (4 [1-38] days; p < 0.0001), whereas there was no significant difference regarding postoperative morbidity and recurrence rate.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggested that PP is not a very rare event during TEM, especially in anterior, circumferential and/or high rectal tumors. Laparoscopic treatment of PP is feasible and safe. The occurrence of PP is not associated with poor oncologic results.