PURPOSE: A randomized study was performed to assess whether new technologies offer advantages over the conventional technique on the clinical and functional outcome of patients with full-thickness rectal prolapse and fecal incontinence, submitted to Altemeier's procedure with levatorplasty. METHODS: Between January 1999 and December 2003, 58 patients (55 females; mean age, 70.9 ± 11.3 years) with full-thickness rectal prolapse were evaluated with continence score, colonoscopy, anorectal manometry, anal electromyography, and sacral reflex latency; 40 of them were selected and randomly assigned to two groups: 20 patients (Group 1; 19 females, 73.4 ± 10.4 years) were submitted to a conventional operation with monopolar electrocautery and handsewn anastomosis, and 20 (Group 2; 18 females, 71.5 ± 12.2 years) using harmonic scalpel and circular stapler. Patients were followed up with clinical examination, anorectal manometry, and anal electromyography, with mean follow-up 29.3 ± 8.5 and 27.5 ± 9.2 months in Groups 1 and 2, respectively. RESULTS: Operative time, blood loss, and hospital stay were significantly reduced in Group 2 (P <0.001), whereas no differences were found in pain score, time to return to normal activity, morbidity, and mortality. Complications were two (10 percent) stenosis in Group 1. Fecal continence score significantly improved in both groups (P <0.01), whereas anorectal manometry and neurophysiologic data were not significantly modified by the operation. Recurrence rates were 15 and 10 percent in Groups 1 and 2, respectively (P= not significant). CONCLUSIONS: The clinical and functional long-term results of perineal rectosigmoidectomy with levatorplasty are not influenced by surgical instruments and type of coloanal anastomosis. The clinical relevance of the short-term results in high-risk patients should be specifically investigated.
- Full-thickness rectal prolapse
- Perineal rectosigmoidectomy
- Stapled coloanal anastomosis
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