Aim: The aim of this study was to compare the functional and clinical results of laparotomic and laparoscopic rectopexy in 2 homogeneous groups of patients with complete rectal prolapse and fecal incontinence. Methods: Between January 1989 and December 1997, twenty-three patients underwent abdominal rectopexy. Thirteen patients (group A, 12 females and 1 male, mean age 57.3, range 22–76 years), and 10 patients (group B, 10 females, mean age 52.3, range 26–70 years) were submitted respectively to either Wells laparotomic or laparoscopic rectopexy by the same surgical team using the same surgical technique and materials. Before the operation a detailed clinical history was collected, and the patients were studied by inspection and digital examination of the anorectum, proctosigmoidoscopy, pancolonic transit time, dynamic defecography, anorectal manometry and anal electromyography. After the operation all patients underwent perineal physiotherapy, external electric stimulation, and perineal biofeedback. Mean follow-up was 37.1 (range 6–90) months in group A and 25.7 (range 6–49) months in group B. Values were compared by χ2, Mann-Whitney U, and Wilcoxon tests as appropriate. Differences were considered significant at p < 0.05. Results: In both groups dyschezia and fecal incontinence improved significantly (p < 0.05) after the operation. The basal pressure of the anal sphincter, squeezing pressure and rectoanal reflex improved without significance, and anal-perineal pain was not significantly reduced. In group B the postoperative hospital stay was lower than in group A, with a reduction in costs. Conclusion: Laparoscopic Wells rectopexy has the same clinical and functional results as laparotomic rectopexy, but with a shorter postoperative hospital stay and lower costs.
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