Objective This study was conducted to determine the indications for and outcome of colorectal intervention in patients with advanced gynaecological malignancy.
Methods Between January 1999 and June 2004, 27 gynaecological cancer patients underwent 36 colorectal intervention performed by general surgeons. The 36 operations were associated with 14 (39%) primary surgical procedures, 9 (25%) second-look laparotomies, and 13 (36%) procedures for recurrence or palliation.
Results The mean age was 56 years (range 32–83 years). The majority of operations were performed in patients with ovarian (67%), endometrial (18%) and cervical (15%) malignancy. The primary indications for colorectal resection was tumour cytoreduction in 56% of the 36 operations. Other indications included repair of iatrogenic bowel injuries (n = 9, 25%), resection for multiple iatrogenic enterotomies (n = 4, 11%), and bowel obstruction (n = 3, 8%). The most frequently performed bowel operation was rectosigmoid resection with end-to-end anastomosis (n = 19, 53%). Colostomy was performed in 14% of the rectosigmoid resections at primary surgery. Small-bowel resection was required in 31% of the 36 operations. Postoperative complications included wound complications (14%), pulmonary infections (8%), cardiac complications (6%) and intra-abdominal abscess (6%). There was a single surgical mortality (3%).
Conclusion Colorectal intervention is frequently indicated during operations for advanced gynaecological malignancy, and they are associated with a significant rate of postoperative complications. Specialists operating on gynaecological malignancy should have the technical skills necessary to perform these procedures.