Closure of the perineal defect after abdominoperineal excision for rectal adenocarcinoma - ACPGBI Position Statement.
BACKGROUND: Perineal wound morbidity is common following abdominoperineal excision of the rectum (APE). There is no consensus on the optimum perineal reconstruction method after APE, and in particular 'extra-levator APE' (ELAPE). METHODS: A systematic review of the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases was performed. This position statement formulated clinical questions and graded the evidence to make recommendations. RESULTS: Perineal wound complications may be higher following ELAPE compared to 'conventional APE (cAPE)' however there is insufficient evidence to recommend cAPE over ELAPE with regards to the impact upon perineal wound healing. The majority of cAPE studies have used primary closure with varying complication rates reported. Where concerns regarding perineal wound healing exist, myocutaneous flap closure may be considered as an alternative method. There is minimal available evidence on perineal mesh reconstruction following cAPE. Primary closure, mesh use and myocutaneous flap reconstruction following ELAPE has been reported although variations in definitions and low-quality of available evidence limit comparison. There is insufficient evidence to recommend one particular method of perineal closure after ELAPE. Primary perineal closure is likely to have a higher risk of perineal herniation. Myocutaneous flaps and biological mesh have been effectively used in ELAPE closure. There is insufficient evidence to support one particular type of flap or mesh. Perineal wound complication rates are significantly increased when neo-adjuvant radiotherapy is delivered, regardless of surgical technique. There is no evidence that laparoscopy reduces APE perineal wound complications.