Objective: To review the trends, modifications and results of 103 consecutive total pelvic exenterations (TPE) performed at the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 1987 to 2003.
Methods: All patients who underwent TPE from January 1987 to December 2003 were included. The medical record, complications, follow-up, clinical status and demographic information were entered in a database. The procedure performed, the method of urinary diversion, colonic diversion, pelvic floor support and vaginal reconstruction were documented. Surviving patients were surveyed regarding their satisfaction with the urinary diversion, the vaginal reconstruction and their sexual function since the surgery.
Results: 103 pts were identified. Indications for TPE were recurrent cancers of the cervix (95), endometrium (2), colon and rectum (5), vulva (1). Overall 5-year survival was 47%. 5-year survival for pts with recurrent cervix cancer was 48%. Six pts (6%) recurred >5 years after the TPE. 14 pts (14%) had ureteral anastomotic leaks (no difference between ileal conduit 9/65 (14%) versus 5/38 (13%) continent conduit (P = 0.92). 34 pts (89%) with continent conduits were "continent." 14 pts (17%) had wound complications. 4 pts (4%) had parastomal hernias. 5/11 (46%) pts who had a low rectal reanastomosis developed recurrence in the pelvis. 21/39 (54%) of pts with continent conduits would choose an ileal conduit if they had the option again. Long-term renal function was similar in pts with ileal and continent conduits. Mesh of any type for pelvic floor reconstruction is associated with infection and bowel/urinary fistulas. VRAM flaps for neovagina fill the pelvic dead space, reduce the risk of fistulas and 20/36 pts (55%) are sexually active.
Conclusions: Our overall 5-year survival is encouraging, and modifications in surgical technique have improved the reconstructive phase. Low rectal anastomoses at TPE adversely affects survival. Many of our pts with continent urinary diversions would not choose this method again. Mesh of any type is associated with sepsis and bowel/urinary fistulas. VRAM for neovagina reduces fistula rate and are functional in >55% of pts. TPE remains a potentially curative option for these pts.