Urgent Pelvic Exenteration: Should the Indication Be Extended?

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Pelvic exenteration carries significant risks of morbidity and mortality. Preoperative management is therefore crucial, and the exenteration procedure is usually performed in an elective setting. In cases of rectal cancer, however, tumor-related complications may cause a patient’s condition to deteriorate rapidly, despite optimal management. Urgent pelvic exenteration then may be an option for these patients.


This study aims to compare the outcomes of pelvic exenteration between the urgent and elective settings.


This is a retrospective study.


This study was conducted at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital between February 2006 and June 2012.


Fifty-three patients with locally advanced rectal cancer were included.


All patients underwent pelvic exenteration for locally advanced rectal cancer. They were assigned to urgent and elective setting groups according to their preoperative conditions. The urgent setting group included patients who required urgent pelvic exenteration because of intestinal obstruction, bowel perforation, bleeding, or uncontrolled sepsis, despite optimal management preoperatively.


Twenty-six patients were classified in the urgent setting group, and 27 were classified in the elective setting group. Three-year overall and disease-free survivals were compared between the 2 groups. Thirty-day postoperative morbidity and mortality were also studied.


Three-year overall survival was 62.2% and 54.4% in the elective and urgent groups (p = 0.7), whereas three-year disease-free survival was 43% and 63.8% (p = 0.33). The median follow-up time was 33 months. Thirty-day morbidity did not differ between the 2 groups (p = 0.49). A low serum albumin level was a significant risk factor for complications. There was no postoperative mortality in this study.


This was a retrospective study performed at 1 institution, and it lacked quality-of-life scores.


Pelvic exenteration in an urgent setting is feasible and could offer acceptable outcomes. See Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/DCR/A591.

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