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Methods: The procedure was performed in two phases: first, by an abdominal laparoscopic approach consisting in the high ligation of the inferior mesenteric artery and vein, and complete splenic flexure mobilization. The pelvic dissection was continued in the Total Mesorectal Excision (TME) plane to the level of the puborectal sling posteriorly and of the seminal vesicles anteriorly.
Secondly, the procedure continued by transanal laparoscopic approach: A Lone Star® retractor was placed prior to the platform insertion (Gelpoint Path®). Under direct vision of the tumor, a purse-string suture was performed to obtain a secure distal margin and a completed closure of the lumen. It is essential to achieve a complete circumferential full-thickness rectotomy before facing the dissection cranially via the TME plane. Both planes, transanal and abdominal, are connected by the two surgical teams. The specimen was then extracted through a suprapubic incision. A circular end-to-end stapled anastomosis was made intracorporeally. Finally, a loop ileostomy was performed.
Results: A 75-year-old man with low rectal cancer (uT3N1-Rullier’s I-II classification), was treated with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and TaTME. Operative time was 240 minutes, including 90 minutes for the perineal phase. There were no postoperative complications and the patient was discharged on postoperative day 5. The pathology report showed a complete mesorectum excision and free margins (ypT1N1a).
Conclusions: The TaTME technique is a safe option for the treatment of low rectal cancers, especially in male patients with a narrow pelvis. It is a feasible and reproducible technique for surgeons with previous experience in advanced laparoscopic procedures and transanal surgery.
In this video, we present the clinical case of a 66-year-old woman with a sigmoid-rectal junction early stage cancer submitted to laparoscopic resection. Before surgery, the patient was submitted to endoscopy with the objective to mark the distal margin of the neoplasia, and 2mL of ICG were injected into the mucosa of the rectum, 2cm distal to the inferior border of the tumor.
Thanks to the ICG’s fluorescence with the light emitted from the photodynamic eye of our laparoscopic system (Stryker 1588 camera system), it is possible to clearly visualize both the individual lymph nodes and the lymphatic collectors which drain ICG (and lymph) of the specific mucosal area previously marked with indocyanine green.
It was possible to verify the good perfusion of the proximal stump of the anastomosis before the Knight-Griffen anastomosis was performed, thanks to an intravenous injection of ICG.
This technique could allow for a more precise and radical nodal dissection, a safer work respecting vascular and nerve structures, and could be related with a lower risk of anastomotic fistula, controlling the adequate perfusion of the stump.
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