Long-term functional outcomes following colorectal resection versus shaving for rectal endometriosis

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Dec;215(6):762.e1-762.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.06.055. Epub 2016 Jul 5.


Background: Two surgical approaches usually are used in the surgical management of deep infiltrating endometriosis of the rectum: the radical approach that mainly is based on colorectal resection and the conservative or symptom-guided approach that prioritizes conservation of the rectum. There are no data available that compare long-term functional digestive outcomes of 1 approach to the other.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare long-term digestive outcomes in women who were treated by either rectal shaving or colorectal resection for deep endometriosis infiltrating the rectum.

Study design: A retrospective comparative study was performed. All women who were treated with surgery for deep endometriosis infiltrating the rectum by either shaving or colorectal resection at the University Hospital of Rouen from January 2005 to January 2010 were enrolled. Follow-up evaluation was carried out for a minimum of 5 years. Postoperative evaluation of digestive symptoms was performed by 4 standardized gastrointestinal questionnaires: the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index, the Knowles-Eccersley-Scott-Symptom score for constipation, the Wexner score for anal continence, and the Bristol Stool Score. Symptoms that were related to endometriosis, fertility, and disease recurrence were obtained from a specific questionnaire.

Results: A total of 77 women were included. Three women were lost to follow up (3.9%), and 3 were treated by disc excision (3.9%). The mean follow-up time was 80±19 months. Forty-six women underwent conservative rectal shaving, and 25 women underwent colorectal resection. Patient characteristics and the severity of the disease were comparable in both groups. Patients who were treated by rectal shaving had significantly better Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index values, lower Knowles-Eccersley-Scott-Symptom scores for postoperative constipation, and better anal continence. No statistically significant differences were revealed for postoperative pelvic pain. Rectal recurrence occurred in 8.7% of patients who were treated by conservative surgery: 4.3% underwent secondary colorectal resection and 4.3% were treated secondarily by rectal shaving. Consequently, avoiding a recurrence for merely 1 patient would have required 11 patients to undergo colorectal resection instead of shaving.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that, in patients who are treated for rectal endometriosis, colorectal resection does not improve long-term postoperative functional outcomes when compared with rectal shaving.

Keywords: colorectal resection; disc excision; rectal endometriosis; shaving.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Constipation / epidemiology*
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Endometriosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Endometriosis / surgery*
  • Endosonography
  • Fecal Incontinence / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy
  • Laparotomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Rectal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Rectal Diseases / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome