A systematic review of minimally invasive surgery for retrorectal tumors

T. G. Mullaney, A. L. Lightner, M. Johnston, S. R. Kelley, D. W. Larson, E. J. Dozois

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Retrorectal tumors are rare tumors that require resection for symptoms, malignancy and potential malignant transformation. Traditional approaches have included laparotomy, perineal excision or a combination. Multiple minimally invasive techniques are available which have the potential to minimize morbidity and enhance recovery. We performed a systematic review of the literature to determine the feasibility and surgical outcomes of retrorectal tumors approached using minimally invasive surgical techniques. Publications in which adult patients (≥ 18 years) had a minimally invasive approach (laparoscopic or robotic) for resection of a primary retrorectal tumor were included. Data were collected on approach, preoperative investigation, size and sacral level of the tumor, operating time, length of stay, perioperative complications, margins and recurrence. Thirty-five articles which included a total of 82 patients met the inclusion criteria. The majority of patients were female (n = 65; 79.2%), with a mean age of 41.7 years (range 18–89 years). Seventy-three patients (89.0%) underwent laparoscopic or combined laparoscopic–perineal resection, and 9 (10.8%) had a robotic approach. The conversion rate was 5.5%. The overall 30-day morbidity rate was 15.7%, including 1 intraoperative rectal injury (1.2%). Ninety-five percent (n = 78) of the retrorectal tumors were benign. Median length of stay was 4 days for both laparoscopic and robotic groups, with ranges of 1–8 and 2–10 days, respectively. No tumor recurrence was noted during follow-up [median 28 months (range 5–71 months)]. A minimally invasive approach for the resection of retrorectal tumors is feasible in selected patients. Careful patient selection is necessary to avoid incomplete resection and higher morbidity than traditional approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-263
Number of pages9
JournalTechniques in Coloproctology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Colorectal/anal neoplasia
  • Laparoscopic
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Retrorectal tumors
  • Robotic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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