Introduction: Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) is a minimal invasive technique for local excision of rectal tumours. The procedure is performed via a rectoscope with a diametre of 4 cm. The aim of this prospective study was to assess both functional outcome and quality of life after TEM.
Patients and methods: Between 2004 and 2006, 47 patients were studied prior to and at least 6 months after TEM. Demographics, operative details and post-operative complications were recorded. Functional outcome was determined using the Faecal Incontinence Severity Index (FISI). Quality of life was measured using the EuroQol EQ-5D questionnaire and the Faecal Incontinence Quality of Life (FIQL) score.
Results: Six months after surgery, median FISI score was found to be decreased (p<0.01), depicting an improvement in faecal continence. This improvement was most significant in tumours within 7 cm from the dentate line (p=0.01). From the patients' perspective, post-operative quality of life was found to be higher (p<0.02). A significant improvement was observed in two of the four FIQLS domains (embarrassment, p=0.03; lifestyle, p=0.05). The domains of lifestyle, coping and behaviour and embarrassment were correlated with the FISI (all p<0.05).
Conclusion: This study indicates TEM has no deteriorating effect on faecal continence. Moreover, once the tumour has been excised using TEM, quality of life is improved.