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Laparoscopic translevator approach to abdominoperineal resection for rectal adenocarcinoma: feasibility and short-term oncologic outcomes



The extra-levator approach to abdominal perineal resection (APR) was developed in order to reduce the rates of positive circumferential resection margin. This approach, however, is associated with significant morbidity. We postulate that a less radical resection of the levators done laparoscopically could significantly decrease the rate of perineal complications while ensuring an oncologically adequate specimen. To date, to our knowledge, there are no reports in the literature describing a laparoscopic translevator approach for APR. The purpose of this study is to describe our initial experience with this approach and assess our short-term oncologic and clinical outcomes.


This is a retrospective study of patients who underwent laparoscopic APR with intra-abdominal levator transection for rectal cancer from 2012 to 2014 at a single tertiary care institution. Main outcome measures include: perineal flap rates, post-operative complications, length of stay, distance from tumour to circumferential resection margin, R0 status, and disease recurrence. Data are presented as median (interquartile range) unless otherwise noted.


Seventeen cases were identified. Patient age was 61 (range 34–75), and 59 % were male. Pre-operative distance of the tumour from the anal verge was 2.6 cm (0.4–3.9). Post-operative length of stay was 4 (4–6) days. One patient required a perineal flap for reconstruction. Four patients (22 %) had perineal complications (three wound infections and one hernia). No patients reported sexual dysfunction, and one (5 %) developed urinary retention. Five (29 %) patients had a complete pathological response. The circumferential resection margin was 1.5 (0.8–2.5) cm, with no positive margins reported. The number of retrieved lymph nodes was 12 (range 2–30). Follow-up was 9.7 months (range 20 days–23 months), during which one patient developed recurrent disease.


This study describes a novel surgical approach to APR that has the potential to both decrease perineal complications and provide excellent oncologic results.

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Correspondence to Vanessa N. Palter.

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Drs. Palter, MacLellan, and Ashamalla have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Palter, V.N., MacLellan, S. & Ashamalla, S. Laparoscopic translevator approach to abdominoperineal resection for rectal adenocarcinoma: feasibility and short-term oncologic outcomes. Surg Endosc 30, 3001–3006 (2016).

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  • Laparoscopic abdominal perineal resection
  • Translevator approach
  • Perineal wound complications