Selection criteria and long-term results of surgery in symptomatic rectocele

P. Boccasanta, M. Venturi, U. Cioffi, M. De Simone, M. Strinna, G. Salamina, A. Raimondi, E. Contessini-Avesani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. The aim of this study was to confirm some selection criteria for the transrectal repair of the anterior rectocele and to compare our surgical results with those reported in the literature. Methods. From January 1992 to December 1999, 30 females (mean age 52.9 years, range 28-70 yrs) affected by anterior rectocele were prospectively evaluated with a standard questionnaire, clinical examination, proctosigmoidoscopy, colonic transit time, dynamic defecography, anal EMG, anal manometry. Then, they were submitted to transrectal repair of rectocele with anterior plication of the rectal muscular wall. Fourteen (46.6%) of them were also submitted to perineal levatorplasty. Patients were followed postoperatively (mean 25.7 months) with the same standard questionnaire, clinical examination, defecography, and manometry. Results were tested by Fisher's Exact text, Wilcoxon's test, and "t"-test. Results. Rectal dyschezia, incomplete evacuation, digital help in defecating, mean stool frequency, and rectal bleeding significantly improved. After 3 months, 30% of patients had no complaints, 40% had only 1-2 episodes/month complaints, 13.3% had evacuation only using laxatives, and 16.6% were unchanged. Defecography showed a significant reduction of the rectocele in 70% of patients after 3 months. Manometric parameters were not significantly modified. Four (28.6%) out of 14 patients submitted to perineal levatorplasty complained of dyspareunia. Conclusions. Our surgical results were comparable with those reported in the literature, with more than 80% of successful outcome. Preoperative clinical data and defecography were confirmed to be basic parameters in selecting patients for surgery. Colonic transit time, anal EMG, and anorectal manometry demonstrated to be useful to recognize conditions as slow colonic transit time, peripheral denervation, and reduced voluntary contraction that could lead to a less satisfactory outcome after surgery, and might benefit with a postoperative perineal rehabilitation by biofeedback and anal electrostimulations. The perineal levatorplasty is not suitable in young females, due to the risk of dyspareunia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-163
Number of pages7
JournalMinerva Chirurgica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Pelvic floor, surgery
  • Rectocele, diagnosis
  • Rectocele, surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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