Aim The study aimed to compare recent reports on standard and alternative methods of abdominoperineal excision for low rectal cancer regarding the rates of circumferential resection margin involvement and intra-operative bowel perforation.
Method Data on rates of margin involvement and perforation were obtained from eight recently published reports and also from a prospective registry of resections at Concord Hospital. Rates of these outcomes and their 95% confidence intervals were evaluated.
Results There was no evidence that extralevator abdominoperineal excision yielded significantly lower rates of resection margin involvement or intra-operative bowel perforation compared with standard abdominoperineal excision in six independent hospital- and population-based patient series. Abdominosacral resection of the rectum, on the other hand, did show significantly lower rates of these endpoints, albeit in selected patients.
Conclusion The role of extralevator abdominoperineal excision and abdominosacral resection of the rectum should be investigated further in randomized controlled trials.