Aims: To describe our push-back approach to ultra-low anterior resection using the concept of the mucosal stump. Methods: We mobilize the rectum using an abdominal approach, and perform mucosal cutting circumferentially at the dentate line. The mucosal stump is closed, and the internal sphincteric muscle resected partially or totally according to tumor location. Perianal dissection is performed along the medial plane of the external sphincteric muscles, and the hiatal ligament is dissected posteriorly. To resect the entire rectum, the closed rectal stump is pushed back to the abdominal cavity using composed gauze. This prevents injury to the autonomic nerve. Results: We performed colonic J-pouch anal anastomosis using our mucosal stump approach in 58 patients with rectal cancer located <4 cm from the anal verge. According to the Wexner score, 7% of patients were fully continent, 71% had acceptable function with minor continence problems, and 22% were incontinent. No patients required intermittent self-catheterization during follow-up. After a median follow-up of 49 months, there was only 1 case of local recurrence after surgery. Conclusion: Our push-back approach for internal sphincter resection produces satisfactory functional and oncological results in ultra-low anterior rectal cancer.
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