Biological mesh reconstruction of perineal wounds following enhanced abdominoperineal excision of rectum (APER).
INTRODUCTION: An abdominoperineal excision of rectum (APER) may be required for rectal tumours less than 6 cm from the anal verge. Recently, the cylindrical APER has been used to prevent the "surgical waist" and so decrease margin involvement. However, removal of the levators leaves a large defect. Myocutaneous flaps [e.g. vertical rectus abdominis (VRAM)] are often used to fill the cylindrical resection defect, but have disadvantages associated with operative time, expertise and morbidity. We report our early experience of pelvic floor reconstruction with a biological mesh following cylindrical APER. METHODS: Data on consecutive patients having cylindrical APER between January 2008 and November 2010 were collected. Outcomes were compared between a VRAM reconstruction group and a mesh group. RESULTS: In 15 consecutive patients with low rectal cancer, five patients had VRAM pelvic floor reconstruction prior to ten patients having biosynthetic mesh repairs. The median operative time for the VRAM cohort was 405 min, compared with 259 min for the mesh (p = 0.0013). The median length of postoperative stay was 20 days for VRAM and 10 days for the mesh group (p = 0.067). There were four early complications for the VRAM group compared with seven for the mesh cohort (p = 0.37). The median cost per patient for the VRAM cohort was £11,075 compared to a median cost of £6,513 for the Mesh (p = 0.0097). CONCLUSION: The use of a biological mesh for pelvic floor reconstruction following cylindrical APER is feasible with morbidity comparable to VRAM reconstruction. There is significant cost-saving using a biosynthetic mesh, mainly due to reduced length of stay.