Background and aims: The minimally invasive technique of transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) combines the benefits of local resections, a low complication rate and high patient comfort, with low recurrence rate and excellent survival rate after radical surgery (RS). The use of an ultrasonically activated scalpel rather than electrosurgery further improves the results of TEM.
Patients and methods: A retrospective study was performed of 182 operations on 162 patients with early rectal carcinoma (pT1, G1/2) or adenoma to compare the outcome following four different kinds of surgical resection techniques: RS (anterior or abdominoperineal resection; n=27), conventional transanal resection using Park's retractor (TP; n=76), transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) with electrosurgery (TEM-ES; n=45), and TEM with UltraCision (TEM-UC; n=34). One-third of the patients with RS (33%) received either a colostomy or a protective loop-ileostomy.
Results: Operation time with TEM-UC was significantly shorter than with TEM-ES or RS. Hospitalization was significantly longer with RS than for TEM or TP. Complication rate with TEM was significantly lower than with RS. Recurrence rate with RS and TEM was significantly lower than with TP, with a trend to TEM-UC being better than TEM-ES. Mortality rate was 3.7% with RS and 0 with TP and TEM. The 2-year survival rate was 96.3% with RS and 100% each with TP and TEM.
Conclusion: TEM using UC seems to be the technique of choice. TP leads to an unacceptable recurrence rate, and RS results in a higher incidence of complication and impairment of life quality.