Background We evaluated to what extent lateral lymph node dissection (LND) interferes with bladder and male sexual functions after radical rectal excision with adoption of careful total autonomic nerve preservation. Methods The study comprised 77 patients resected for mid-rectal or lower rectal cancer. Bladder and male sexual functions were studied by means of a questionnaire more than one year after surgery. Outcomes were compared between patients who received lateral LND (group 1, 65 patients) and those who did not (group 2, 12 patients). Results Only minor disturbances of bladder function were reported in 10 patients (15%) of group 1, and in 3 patients (25%) of group 2. Ten out of 37 preoperatively sexually active patients (27%) in group 1 males and one of 5 patients (20%) in group 2 males had partial or total impotency after surgery and retrograde ejaculation occurred in 3 of 27 patients (11%) and one of 4 patients (25%), respectively. Erectile impotency occurred less frequently when patients were operated during the period 1993-1996 than during 1988-1992 (11% vs. 42%, p<0.05). The age was significantly greater among patients who had loss of ejaculation. Conclusions If lateral lymph node dissection should be used with the aim of improving radicality in rectal excision for cancer, it should be combined with careful nerve-preserving technique - which may reduce the risk of bladder and male sexual dysfunctions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes