Dorsal approach with tailored partial sacrectomy and gluteal V–Y fasciocutaneous advancement flap for the management of recurrent pelvic sepsis; case report

Sebastian Sparenberg, Sarah Sharabiany, Gijsbert D. Musters, Brenda M. Castano Borrero, Roel Hompes, Oren Lapid, Pieter J. Tanis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)



Pelvic sepsis after surgery for rectal cancer is a severe complication, mostly originating from anastomotic leakage. Complex salvage surgery, during which an omentoplasty is often used for filling of the pelvic cavity, is seldomly required. If this fails, a symptomatic recurrent presacral abscess with a risk of progressive inflammation can develop. Such patients have often undergone multiple surgeries and have disturbed abdominal wall integrity, adhesion formation, and presence of one or two stoma(s). Subsequent salvage surgery via the conventional anterior abdominal approach is therefore less suitable. We describe three cases with a chronic presacral sinus and failure of first salvage surgery. All three patients underwent a prone only approach with tailored sacrectomy. This novel approach provided direct access to the pelvic abscess with optimal exposure for complete and safe debridement. A unilateral or bilateral gluteal V–Y fasciocutaneous advancement flap was created to completely fill the cavity with well vascularized tissue. 

Case presentations: 

Three male patients of 80, 66 and 51 years of age initially underwent low anterior resection with neo-adjuvant radiotherapy for rectal cancer. The first patients underwent intersphincteric resection of the anastomosis with omentoplasty 128 months after index surgery, and second salvage surgery 2 months later. The second patient underwent abdominoperineal resection with omentoplasty for locally recurrent rectal cancer, cystoprostatectomy with revision of the omentoplasty for pelvic sepsis 100 months after index surgery, and second salvage surgery 16 months later. In the third patient, the anastomosis was dismantled with subsequent intersphincteric proctectomy and omentoplasty 20 months after index surgery, and second salvage surgery was performed 93 months later. Second salvage surgery in all three patients was indicated because of symptomatic recurrent pelvic sepsis. Second salvage surgery consisted of sacrectomy, complete debridement of the presacral area, and filling with a gluteal advancement flap. This resulted in favorable postoperative recovery with ultimate healing of the pelvic cavity. 


The dorsal approach with tailored sacrectomy and gluteal V–Y advancement flap is a valuable option in highly selected patients to treat recurrent pelvic sepsis after multiple prior transabdominal interventions for chronic presacral sinus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number194
JournalBMC Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

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© 2021, The Author(s).


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