Laparoscopic rectopexy

What is rectal prolapse?

Patients with a rectal prolapse have a protrusion (prolapse) of the rectum through the anus. The rectum folds on itself and protrudes through the anal canal. They may also have such symptoms as a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, mucus drainage, anorectal pain or fecal incontinence. A rectal prolapse is thought to occur because of a loss or weakness of the normal support structures for the rectum.

What is the treatment?

The essential treatment is to surgically fix the redundant rectum to the bony pelvis, so that it is unable to slide out. This can be done by the open conventional method or by the laparoscopic method.

What is laparoscopic mesh rectopexy?

Laparoscopic rectopexy is one of the surgeries that is used to repair a rectal prolapse. In this surgery, the rectum is restored to its normal position in the pelvis, so that it no longer protrudes through the anus. Usually, stitches are used to secure the rectum, often along with mesh.

The term "laparoscopic" refers to surgery performed through several very small incisions in the abdomen. A laparoscope (a long, thin camera) is placed through an incision near the belly button in order to see the inside of the abdomen. The other small incisions are used to place instruments to perform the surgery.

What are the advantages of the laparoscopic procedure?

Results may vary depending upon the type of procedure and patient’s overall condition. Common advantages are:

  • Less postoperative pain
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Earlier return of bowel function
  • Earlier return to normal activity
  • Better cosmetic results
  • Less chances of wound infection
  • Other associated pathology can be picked up

Are there any complications associated with the procedure?

Laparoscopic mesh rectopexy is a relatively safe surgery, however as with any other operation complications are known to occur.

  • Bleeding
  • Bowel injury
  • Injury to the ureter
  • Abscess
  • Sepsis and septicemia
  • Rarely Impotence in male patients
  • Port site infections
  • Hernias
  • Rarely even death (in less than 0.1%)

This list however is not exhaustive and patients may also developed complication not form surgery per se but from their associated medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease etc.

Patient may also need additional intervention or even repeat surgery to tackle these complications.

When should you inform your doctor?

Be sure to call your physician or surgeon if you develop any of the following:

  • Persistent fever over 101 degrees F (39 C)
  • Bleeding
  • Increasing abdominal swelling
  • Pain that is not relieved by your medications
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Chills
  • Inability to pass urine
laparoscopic rectopexy