Anterior resection syndrome

Lancet Oncol. 2012 Sep;13(9):e403-8. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70236-X.


Up to 80% of patients with rectal cancer undergo sphincter-preserving surgery. It is widely accepted that up to 90% of such patients will subsequently have a change in bowel habit, ranging from increased bowel frequency to faecal incontinence or evacuatory dysfunction. This wide spectrum of symptoms after resection and reconstruction of the rectum has been termed anterior resection syndrome. Currently, no precise definition or causal mechanisms have been established. This disordered bowel function has a substantial negative effect on quality of life. Previous reviews have mainly focused on different colonic reconstructive configurations and their comparative effects on daily function and quality of life. The present Review explores the potential mechanisms underlying disturbed functions, as well as current, novel, and future treatment options.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anal Canal / physiopathology*
  • Anastomosis, Surgical / methods
  • Constipation / epidemiology
  • Constipation / etiology
  • Constipation / prevention & control*
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Fecal Incontinence / epidemiology
  • Fecal Incontinence / etiology
  • Fecal Incontinence / prevention & control*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Organ Sparing Treatments / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Preoperative Care
  • Quality of Life
  • Rectal Neoplasms / surgery*