Laparoscopic resection of colorectal cancers is a safe alternative to open surgery. The conversion rate to open surgery remains fairly constant but is associated with increased morbidity. A new approach to the surgical excision of rectal cancer is transanal total mesorectal excision (TME), in which the rectum is mobilized peranally using endoscopic instruments. This feasibility study describes initial results with transanal TME.
Between June and August 2012, five consecutive unselected patients with rectal carcinoma underwent surgical excision of rectal tumours by means of transanal TME.
Transanal endoscopic dissection of the complete rectum was possible in all patients. Histopathological examination confirmed clear surgical margins and an intact mesorectal fascia in all patients. One patient developed a presacral abscess. Median duration of operation was 175 (range 160–194) min.
Transanal TME using the down-to-up principle is feasible. Whether the oncological and clinical results are comparable with those of standard laparoscopic or open TME has yet to be proven.