Gracilis Muscle Interposition for Rectourethral Fistula After Laparoscopic Prostatectomy: A Prospective Evaluation and Long-term Follow-up

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Postoperative rectourethral fistula after radical prostatectomy is an infrequent but very serious problem.

OBJECTIVE:

We aimed to describe our experience with transperineal repair and unilateral gracilis muscle interposition in patients with rectourethral fistula after radical prostatectomy in nonradiated prostate cancer.

DESIGN:

This was a cohort study.

SETTINGS:

All of the procedures were performed at the same hospital by the same multidisciplinary team made up of a senior colorectal surgeon and a senior urologist.

PATIENTS:

Patients with postoperative rectourethral fistula after laparoscopic prostatectomy were included.

INTERVENTION:

Transperineal fistula repair and gracilis muscle interposition were included.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Fistula healing rate was measured.

RESULTS:

Nine patients with postoperative rectourethral fistula were treated between November 2009 and February 2016. Four of them had received other previous treatments without success, and 5 had previously been treated with this technique. Seven patients had a fecal diverting stoma. After a median follow-up of 54 months (range, 2–72), all of the fistulas had successfully healed, and, to date, the patients remain asymptomatic without urinary diversion. Fecal diversion was closed in all but 1 patient. No intraoperative or infectious complications were detected. With the results of our series, we present specific technical details of our technique and hope to provide additional evidence of the low morbidity profile and excellent healing rate of this treatment. Moreover, we note that, although small, this series corresponds with a homogeneous group of patients with rectourethral fistula after radical prostatectomy in nonradiated prostate cancer.

LIMITATIONS:

This is a small but very homogeneous group of patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Simple repair with perineal gracilis muscle interposition is a safe and effective technique for the treatment of postoperative rectourethral fistulas after nonradiated prostate cancer surgery.

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