Laparoscopic Rectopexy

Updated: Sep 19, 2016
  • Author: Leandro Feo, MD; Chief Editor: Vikram Kate, MBBS, MS, PhD, FACS, FACG, FRCS, FRCS(Edin), FRCS(Glasg), FIMSA, MAMS, MASCRS  more...
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Rectal prolapse is a debilitating condition that affects 1% of people older than 60 years. Surgical approaches to its treatment include a perineal approach and an abdominal approach. [1] Laparoscopic rectopexy was initially described in the early 1990s and has since become the abdominal procedure of choice for rectal prolapse. [2] This review describes three of the current laparoscopic approaches in the management of rectal prolapse and rectocele.



Once rectal prolapse is diagnosed, surgical repair is indicated to prevent worsening fecal incontinence and discomfort.

Laparoscopic rectopexy has now been recommended as the first option for rectal prolapse. [3]



Abdominal rectopexy yields low recurrence rates (< 5%) and some improvement of incontinence. However, this approach can cause constipation and does not resolve existing constipation, [4, 5] possibly owing to rectal denervation after the posterolateral dissection of the rectum.

In contrast, perineal approaches, including Altemeier and Delorme procedures, are associated with a higher recurrence rate but lower morbidity than open abdominal approaches. Although considered safer operations, with the rate of recurrence approaching 18% and minimal improvement in continence, better alternatives have been investigated. [4]

The small incisions, lack of anastomosis, and low recurrence rates of the minimally invasive approach have reduced the morbidity of the abdominal approach without affecting efficacy. In a randomized control trial, laparoscopic rectopexy had fewer complications, shorter length of hospital stay, and decreased in pain compared with open abdominal rectopexy. [6] In addition, the morbidity was comparable to perineal procedures.

Compared with the classic open posterior rectopexy, laparoscopic rectopexy has similar functional outcomes regarding constipation. Satisfactory long-term results have been reported with laparoscopic "ventral" rectopexy, and new constipation is prevented because of the lack of posterior dissection. [7, 8, 9, 10, 3]

Compared with the results of laparoscopic rectopexy, the results of robotic rectopexy are similar in terms of length of stay, postoperative pain, recurrence rates, and mortality. In contrast, robotic rectopexy is associated with a longer operating time and higher costs. [11, 12, 13, 14]  However, a randomized controlled trial that included 30 patients reported no significant difference in operating time between robot-assisted and conventional laparoscopic ventral rectopexy. [15]