Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 184–191 | Cite as

Transanal endoscopic micro-surgery in elderly and very elderly patients: a safe option? Observational study with prospective data collection

  • X. Serra-Aracil
  • S. Serra-PlaEmail author
  • L. Mora-Lopez
  • A. Pallisera-Lloveras
  • M. Labro-Ciurans
  • S. Navarro-Soto



Although the incidence of colorectal cancer increases with the patient’s age, the elderly continue to be less likely to be scheduled for surgery. Transanal endoscopic micro-surgery (TEM) is a surgical alternative to total mesorectal excision (TME) in early stage rectal cancer and/or in selected patients that could decrease morbidity and mortality rates in this group of patients. Our main objective is to assess the safety and feasibility of TEM in elderly (75–84 years) and very elderly (≥ 85 years) patients.


Observational study was conducted with prospective data collection of all consecutive patients who underwent TEM between April 2004 and January 2017. Patients were assigned to groups according to age. Descriptive and comparative analyses between groups were performed.


We analyzed 693 patients, 429 patients < 75 years (61.9%), 220 patients between the ages of 75 and 84 (31.7%), and 44 patients ≥ 85 years old (6.3%). The tendency in our series is to increase comorbidities with age. Palliative or consensus intent was more frequently performed in elderly (10.5%, 34/220), and very elderly (45.4%, 20/44), compared with the youngest (6.3%, 27/429), (p < 0.001). Global morbidity presented an increasing trend related to age from 20.3% in < 75 years, to 25.9% in elderly and 34.1% in very elderly. Surgical complications were recorded in 18.5% (128/693) of patients with no significant differences between groups. The most common one was rectal bleeding 16.1% (111/693). Significant differences were found in non-surgical complications, recorded in 7.3% (16/220) in the elderly, and 15.9% (7/44) in the group above 84 years (p = 0.013).


TEM presents acceptable morbidity rates mainly due to non-surgical-related adverse effects in elderly and very elderly patients and may be a feasible and safe alternative in this population in both curative and non-curative indications.


Transanal endoscopic micro-surgery Elderly Rectal cancer Transanal endoscopic operation Minimally invasive surgery 


Compliance with ethical standards


Drs. Serra-Aracil, Serra-Pla, Mora, Pallisera, Labro, and Navarro have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Coloproctology Unit, General and Digestive Surgery Department, Parc Tauli University HospitalUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaSabadellSpain
  2. 2.General and Digestive Surgery Department, Parc Tauli University HospitalUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaSabadellSpain

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