Mid term functional results following surgical treatment of recto-urinary fistulas postprostate cancer treatment.
INTRODUCTION: To evaluate the mid term functional results of patients treated for RUF and to determine an optimal treatment strategy to improve their quality of life. Recto-urinary Fistula (RUF) is a rare complication following prostate cancer treatment, and can have a major impact on patients' quality of life. There is a lack of consensus concerning the best approach and different techniques have been proposed: endoscopic, transrectal, perineal and transperitoneal (open, laparoscopic or robotic). MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients who underwent RUF repair from January 2001 to December 2010 at our Institute. 16 patients who developed RUF following prostate cancer treatment were included in the study. The fistula had to be confirmed both clinically and by imaging. All patients had follow up consultation every 3 month for the first year and then annually. They were asked to fill questionnaires evaluating functional outcomes. The International Continence Society (ICS) score was used to assess the postoperative urinary continence. Fecal continence was evaluated with the Wexner score and sexual function was assessed with the International Index for erectile function (IIEF-5) score. RESULTS: Eighty-seven percent patients (14/16) in our series developed RUF as a consequence of prostate cancer surgery and 13% (2/16) postbrachytherapy (BT). All patients initially had a diversion colostomy and a supra pubic catheter. 69% (11/16) underwent primary YM repair and 73% (8/11) were successful. 2/3 primary failures were successfully retreated with graciloplasty. Primary gracilis flap interposition (GFI), on 3 non-irradiated patients were successful (100%). Primary GFI postbrachytherapy, no patient had recover urinary and digestive continuity. In total primary GIF was successful in 60% (3/5). Over all long term, success rate with a urinary and digestive continuity and without recurrence of the fistula was 81% (13/16). Mid term functional results were evaluated at mean follow up of 40 months (14-92). 13% (2/16) achieved complete urinary continence, 48% (7/16) required single pad, 25% (4/16) developed major incontinence, 7% (1/16) required urinary diversion and 13% (2/16) developed complete urethral closure post BT requiring permanent suprapubic catheterization. Colostomy was reversed in 93% (15/16) cases. 75% (12/16) achieved complete faecal continence, minor incontinence (wexner score 3-4) was seen in 13% (2/16) and major incontinence (wexner score 14) in 7% (1/16) and 7% (1/16) required a long term colostomy. 19% (3/16) developed colostomy related complications. Only 13% (2/16) achieved adequate erections with the use of intra cavernosal prostaglandin injections. CONCLUSIONS: RUF following prostate cancer treatment is a serious complication with severe repercussion on patients' quality of life. Surgical repair with the York Mason technique or Gracilis Flap interposition is associated with good success rates. If available pediculed gracilis muscle should be used as it offers better success rates. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3.