Empty pelvis syndrome: the use of breast prosthesis in the prevention of complications

F. Carboni, O. Federici, M. Giofre’, S. Zazza, M. Valle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Empty pelvis syndrome and radiation-induced bowel injury are two major clinical issues resulting from the pelvic dead space after pelvic exenteration (PE). In order to avoid these complications, different methods of pelvic floor reconstruction have been proposed. We report our experience on the use of breast prosthesis. Method: Fifty-three patients who underwent PE and three who underwent palliative surgery with silicone breast prosthesis placement were included. Results: Forty-seven posterior PE, six total PE and three palliative procedures were identified. Sphincter preservation was feasible in 34 patients (62.3%). There were no deaths. Overall morbidity was 37.5%. There were no complications such as sepsis or obstruction related to the prosthesis. Adjuvant radiotherapy was delivered in 16 cases (30.1%) without any side-effects. Reconstruction of intestinal continuity was possible in 12 patients (36.3%) with sphincter preservation and the prosthesis allowed a prompt identification of the rectal stump. Conclusion: Breast prosthesis placement is a simple and safe method to minimize complications resulting from empty pelvis syndrome and can be adopted to exclude bowel loops from the radiation field. Reconstruction of intestinal continuity after resection is also simplified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321-1325
Number of pages5
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019


  • breast prosthesis
  • empty pelvis syndrome
  • pelvic exenteration
  • radiation enteritis
  • reconstruction of intestinal continuity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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