Abdominal versus perineal approach for treatment of rectal prolapse: comparable safety in a propensity-matched cohort

Am Surg. 2013 Jul;79(7):686-92.


Abdominal operations for rectal prolapse are associated with lower recurrence rates than perineal procedures but presumed higher morbidity. Therefore, perineal procedures are recommended for patients deemed unfit for abdominal repair. Consequently, bias confounds retrospective comparisons of the two approaches. To clarify the impact of operative approach on outcomes, we analyzed abdominal and perineal procedures in a propensity score-matched analysis. We selected patients undergoing surgery for rectal prolapse from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program data set from 2005 to 2010. We grouped procedures as abdominal or perineal. We identified preoperative variables predictive of complications and regressed against operative approach. The resulting propensity score was used to select a matched cohort with similar clinical risk. We identified 2188 patients (848 abdominal [38.8%]; 1340 perineal [61.2%]). Patients undergoing the perineal approach had higher rates of most risk variables. Propensity matching resulted in 563 matched pairs (1126 patients) with similar clinical risk. In this matched cohort, no significant difference was found in the rate of any complication between the operative approaches; mortality was 0.9 per cent in each group (P = 1.0). Relative risk for major morbidity after abdominal approach was 1.39 (95% confidence interval, 0.92 to 2.10; P = 0.15). Although many patients with rectal prolapse are high risk for abdominal surgery, our study indicates that many patients treated by perineal repair could be safely treated with a more durable operation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / surgery*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Operative Time
  • Patient Safety*
  • Perineum / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Propensity Score
  • Rectal Prolapse / surgery*
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome