Persistent perineal sinus after abdominoperineal resection

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2017 Nov;402(7):1063-1069. doi: 10.1007/s00423-017-1619-0. Epub 2017 Aug 25.


Background and aims: Persistent perineal sinus (PPS) defined as a perineal wound remaining unhealed more than 6 months after abdominoperineal resection (APR) is a well-known complication. The aim of our study was (1) to evaluate the incidence of PPS after APR for Crohn's disease (CD) in the era of biotherapy, (2) to determine long-term outcome of PPS, (3) to study risk factors associated with delayed perineal healing, and (4) to compare the results in this CD patient group with patients without CD.

Methods: From 1997 to 2013, the records of patients who underwent APR for CD and for non-CD rectal cancer with or without radiochemotherapy at two French university hospitals were studied retrospectively. Perineal healing was evaluated by clinical examination at 1, 6, and 12 months after surgery.

Results: The cumulative probability of perineal wound unhealed at 6 and 12 months after surgery was 85 and 48%, respectively, for 81 patients who underwent APR for CD patients in contrast to 21 and 13%, respectively, for 25 non-CD patients with rectal cancer. Eight patients with CD (10%) remained with PPS after a median follow up of 4 years and spontaneous perineal healing occurred with time for all non-CD patients. Factors associated with delayed perineal healing in CD included age at surgery < 49 years (p = 0.001) and colonic-only Crohn's disease location (p = 0.045). Medical treatments had no significant impact on perineal healing.

Conclusions: PPS beyond 6 months post-APR remains a frequent complication but mostly resolves over time. CD is a risk factor for developing PPS and factors associated with higher incidence of PPS were age at surgery < 49 years and colonic-only Crohn's disease location. Prevention of PPS in this population with muscle flap during APR deserves to be evaluated.

Keywords: Abdominoperineal resection; Crohn’s disease; Persistent perineal sinus.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Crohn Disease / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Perineum
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Risk Factors
  • Wound Healing