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Ann Surg Treat Res. 2019 Mar;96(3):123-130. English. Original Article.
Sohn DK , Park SC , Kim MJ , Chang HJ , Han KS , Oh JH .
Center for Colorectal Cancer, Research Institute and Hospital, National Cancer Center, Goyang, Korea.


To assess the feasibility of transanal total mesorectal excision in difficult cases including obese patients or patients with bulky tumors or threatened mesorectal fascias.


We performed laparoscopy-assisted transanal total mesorectal excision in patients with biopsy-proven rectal adenocarcinoma located 3–12 cm from the anal verge as part of a prospective, single arm, pilot trial. The primary endpoint was resection quality and circumferential resection margin involvement. Secondary endpoints included the number of harvested lymph nodes and 30-day postoperative complications.


A total of 12 patients (9 men and 3 women) were enrolled: one obese patient, 7 with large tumors and 8 with threatened mesorectal fascias (4 patients had multiple indications). Tumors were located a median of 5.5 cm from the anal verge, and all patients received preoperative chemoradiotherapy. Median operating time was 191 minutes, and there were no intraoperative complications. One patient needed conversion to open surgery for ureterocystostomy after en bloc resection. Complete or near-complete excision and negative circumferential resection margins were achieved in all cases. The median number of harvested lymph nodes was 15.5. There was no postoperative mortality and 3 cases of postoperative morbidity (1 postoperative ileus, 1 wound problem near the stoma site, and 1 anastomotic dehiscence).


This pilot study showed that transanal total mesorectal excision is also feasible in difficult laparoscopic cases such as in obese patients or those with bulky tumors or tumors threatening the mesorectal fascia. Additional larger studies are needed.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.