Introduction: Rectal cancer surgery is continuously evolving. Transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME) is a relatively new surgical approach with possible advantages in comparison to current standard surgical techniques. Several studies in recent years have validated this approach regarding safety and effectiveness. We describe our initial experience with TaTME evaluating surgical parameters, post-operative outcomes and short-term oncological outcomes. Methods: This is a retrospective study reviewing all patients who underwent TaTME in a single institution from May 2015 to April 2018. Results: The cohort included 25 patients with an average age of 60.4 (range: 40-86), of which 13 (52%) patients were male. The average body mass index was 26.1. The overall 30-day morbidity rate was 40%, with 20% (five cases) being severe complications, defined by Clavien-Dindo Grade of 3b or above. There were three major interoperative complications. Four cases (16%) required reoperation during the first 30 post-operative days. The median length of stay was 8 days. The surgery duration was on average 296 min (range: 205-510). Negative resection margins were achieved in all patients. At a median follow-up period of 14 months, there were no local recurrences, and 4 cases (16%) had a distant recurrence. Conclusion: This study describes our initial experience with TaTME, which requires a substantial learning curve to minimise complications and morbidity. Oncological outcomes as expressed by the resection margins, number of lymph nodes harvested and local recurrence rates were all comparable to previously published data.
- Minimally invasive rectal surgery
- rectal cancer
- transanal total mesorectal excision