Current technique of laparoscopic total mesorectal excision (TME): an international questionnaire among 368 surgeons

YM Cheung, MM Lange, Mark Buunen, Johan Lange

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Current literature shows no consensus for the technique of laparoscopic total mesorectal excision (LTME). This study aimed to assess the current practice of LTME. From January to March 2008, members of the European Association for Endoscopic Surgery (EAES), the Indian Association of Gastrointestinal Endo-Surgeons (IAGES), and the Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons (SLS), together with renowned surgeons in the field of LTME, were invited to fill out an online questionnaire concerning aspects of LTME. The 368 questionnaires showed that 77% of the study participants performed 1-20 LTMEs per year (low volume) and that 33% performed more than 20 LTMEs per year (high volume). Preoperative bowel preparation (PBP), Trendelenburg position, periumbilical insertion of a 30A(0) laparoscope, medial-to-lateral dissection, ultrasonic hemostasis, high-tie ligation, splenic flexure mobilization, left ureteral identification, partial sigmoid resection, extraction of the specimen by a new minilaparotomy and wound protector, end-to-end stapled anastomosis using a 28- to 29-mm anvil with 3.5-mm staples, abdominal lavage, pelvic drainage, and diverting ileostoma were performed by a majority of the surgeons. Less consistency was observed in identification of the right ureter, dissection of Denonvilliers' fascia, location of the minilaparotomy, and construction of a colonic pouch. There were significant differences between high and low volume and between American and European surgeons. Significantly more low-volume surgeons indicated a preference for an open TME depending on the age and gender of the patient, the presence of comorbidity, previous laparotomy, and locally advanced tumor. More low-volume surgeons applied PBP (83.4% vs. 71.8%; p = 0.017). On the average, high-volume surgeons identified more autonomic pelvic nerves during dissection (2.6 vs. 1.8 nerves). The right ureter was identified by 66% of the American and 31.2% of the European surgeons. In the United States 91.5% and in Europe 61.2% created an end-to-end anastomosis. Pouches were created by 32% of the European and 6.8% of the American surgeons. The respondents showed an apparent preference for several aspects of LTME. Differences were related to expertise and still more to continent.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)2796-2801
Number of pages6
JournalSurgical Endoscopy-Ultrasound and Interventional Techniques
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Research programs

  • EMC MM-03-47-02-A
  • EMC OR-02-47-12

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