Transanal total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer: early outcomes in 50 consecutive patients

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Minimally invasive approaches to proctectomy for rectal cancer have not been widely adopted due to inherent technical challenges. A modification of traditional transabdominal mobilization, termed transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME), has the potential to improve access to the distal rectum. The aim of the current study is to assess outcomes following TaTME for rectal cancer.


This is a retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database of consecutive patients who underwent TaTME for rectal cancer at a single institution. The study period was from 1 March 2012 to 31 July 2015.


During the study period 50 patients underwent TaTME. The median tumour distance from the anal verge was 4.4 (3.0–5.5) cm. The rate of conversion from a planned minimally invasive approach was 2.2%. The median operative time was 267.0 (227.0–331.0) min. The median lymph node yield was 18.0 (12.0–23.8), the macroscopic quality assessment of the resected specimen was incomplete in 2% and the circumferential resection margin positivity rate was 4%. Intra-operative morbidity occurred in 6% and the 30 day morbidity rate was 36%. The median length of stay was 4.5 (4.0–8.0) days. The median follow-up was 15.1 (7.0–23.2) months; two patients have developed a local recurrence and eight patients have developed distant recurrence.


These data suggest that TaTME for rectal cancer is feasible with an acceptable pathological outcome and morbidity profile. Further data on functional and long-term survival outcomes are required.

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