Surgical options and trends in treating rectal prolapse: long-term results in a 19-year follow-up study

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2018 Dec;403(8):991-998. doi: 10.1007/s00423-018-1728-4. Epub 2018 Nov 10.


Purpose: Many different operations have been proposed for treating rectal prolapse, with varying recurrence rates and functional outcome. The main purpose of this study was to assess long-term results of surgery for prolapse of the rectum.

Methods: We carried out a retrospective study to evaluate changing trends in surgical strategies and outcome in all patients treated in our hospital over 19 years.

Results: Ninety-three patients were operated and 30 (32%) experienced recurrence of external prolapse during a median (range) follow-up time of 82 (2-231) months. There were 37 reoperations for recurrence, bringing the total number of operations to 130. From 1998 to 2010, laparoscopic posterior suture rectopexy was the preferred abdominal procedure with Delorme's operation as the perineal alternative. Observed recurrence rates were 15/49 (31%) and 8/15 (53%) during a median observation time of 84 and 9 months, respectively. From 2011 to 2017, these procedures were replaced by ventral mesh rectopexy and Altemeier's rectosigmoidectomy. The observed recurrence rate for ventral mesh rectopexy was 3/22 (14%) during a median observation time of 29 months. The 30-day mortality rate was 3% and complication rate 14%.

Conclusions: The recurrence rates were high after all procedures, with no significant difference between posterior suture rectopexy and ventral mesh rectopexy, but the short observation time for the latter procedure is a limitation of the study. Both procedures had low complication rates, and ventral mesh rectopexy had no mortality.

Keywords: Mesh repair; Outcome measures; Rectal prolapse; Rectopexy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rectal Prolapse / surgery*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Mesh
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome