Evaluation and surgical treatment of rectal prolapse: an international survey

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AimValidated guidelines for the surgical and non-surgical treatment of rectal prolapse (RP) do not exist. The aim of this international questionnaire survey was to provide an overview of the evaluation, follow-up and treatment of patients with an internal or external RP.MethodA 36-question questionnaire in English about the evaluation, treatment and follow-up of patients with RP was distributed amongst surgeons attending the congresses of the European Association for Endoscopic Surgery and the European Society of Coloproctology in 2010. It was subsequently sent to all the members of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and the European Society of Coloproctology by e-mail.ResultsIn all, 391 surgeons in 50 different countries completed the questionnaire. Evaluation, surgical treatment and follow-up of patients with RP differed considerably. For healthy patients with an external RP, laparoscopic ventral rectopexy was the most popular treatment in Europe, whereas laparoscopic resection rectopexy was favoured in North America. There was consensus only on frail and/or elderly patients with an external prolapse, with a preference for a perineal technique. After failure of conservative therapy, internal RP was mostly treated by laparoscopic resection rectopexy in North America. In Europe, laparoscopic ventral rectopexy and stapled transanal rectal resection were the most popular techniques for these patients.ConclusionThe treatment of RP differs between surgeons, countries and regions. Guidelines are lacking. Prospective comparative studies are warranted that may result in universally accepted protocols.

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