Functional Outcomes After Rectal Resection for Deep Infiltrating Pelvic Endometriosis: Long-term Results

Dis Colon Rectum. 2018 Jun;61(6):733-742. doi: 10.1097/DCR.0000000000001047.


Background: Curative management of deep infiltrating endometriosis requires complete removal of all endometriotic implants. Surgical approach to rectal involvement has become a topic of debate given potential postoperative bowel dysfunction and complications.

Objective: This study aims to assess long-term postoperative evacuation and incontinence outcomes after laparoscopic segmental rectal resection for deep infiltrating endometriosis involving the rectal wall.

Design: This is a retrospective study of prospectively collected data.

Settings: This single-center study was conducted at the University Hospital of Bern, Switzerland.

Patients: Patients with deep infiltrating endometriosis involving the rectum undergoing rectal resection from June 2002 to May 2011 with at least 24 months follow-up were included.

Main outcome measures: Aside from endometriosis-related symptoms, detailed symptoms on evacuation (points: 0 (best) to 21 (worst)) and incontinence (0-24) were evaluated by using a standardized questionnaire before and at least 24 months after surgery.

Results: Of 66 women who underwent rectal resection, 51 were available for analyses with a median follow-up period of 86 months (range: 26-168). Forty-eight patients (94%) underwent laparoscopic resection (4% converted, 2% primary open), with end-to-end anastomosis in 41 patients (82%). Two patients (4%) had an anastomotic insufficiency; 1 case was complicated by rectovaginal fistula. Dysmenorrhea, nonmenstrual pain, and dyspareunia substantially improved (p < 0.001 for all comparisons). Overall evacuation score increased from a median of 0 (range: 0-11) to 2 points (0-15), p = 0.002. Overall incontinence also increased from 0 (range: 0-9) to 2 points (0-9), p = 0.003.

Limitations: This study was limited by its retrospective nature and moderate number of patients.

Conclusions: Laparoscopic segmental rectal resection for the treatment of deep infiltrating endometriosis including the rectal wall is associated with good results in endometriotic-related symptoms, although patients should be informed about possible postoperative impairments in evacuation and incontinence. However, its clinical impact does not outweigh the benefit that can be achieved through this approach. See Video Abstract at

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anastomosis, Surgical / adverse effects*
  • Anastomosis, Surgical / methods
  • Colectomy / methods
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Dysmenorrhea / etiology
  • Dyspareunia / etiology
  • Endometriosis / complications
  • Endometriosis / pathology
  • Endometriosis / surgery*
  • Fecal Incontinence / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / complications*
  • Intestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvis / pathology*
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Rectal Diseases / complications
  • Rectal Diseases / pathology
  • Rectal Diseases / surgery*
  • Rectovaginal Fistula / complications
  • Rectovaginal Fistula / etiology
  • Rectum / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome