Quality of life and fecal incontinence after transanal endoscopic microsurgery for benign and malignant rectal lesions

Elsa B. Valsdottir, Shadi S. Yarandi, John H. Marks, Gerald J. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) is a minimally invasive treatment used to excise a variety of rectal lesions. Potential overstretching of the sphincter's musculature due to dilation of the anal canal to allow placement of a 40-mm-wide scope combined with partial resection of the rectum and subsequent loss of rectal volume creates a concern regarding anorectal function postoperatively. Data regarding patient satisfaction with anorectal function and quality of life after TEM are scant. This report presents data on patient satisfaction gathered during a period of 10 years. Methods A prospectively maintained database of patients undergoing TEM from 1997 to 2007 was queried to identify patients to survey using the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life Scale questionnaire, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) questionnaire version 3, and a questionnaire designed by the authors to assess satisfaction with quality of life. From a group of 86 patients, 57 (66 %) responded to the questionnaires. Patient satisfaction outcomes were determined by age, preoperative diagnosis, tumor level in the rectum, excision method, and radiation treatment. Results Most of the patients (94.7 %) preferred TEM to having a stoma. Age (p = 0.03) and nature of the lesion (p = 0.03) were the only factors that affected coping. Depression was affected only by the presence of malignancy (p = 0.001). Excision method was the only factor that significantly influenced overall lifestyle (p = 0.002). Neither tumor level (p = 0.8) nor radiation therapy (p = 0.9) affected patient satisfaction with lifestyle after TEM. The presence of malignancy (p = 0.004) and fullthickness excision (p = 0.02) were related to more problems with fecal incontinence. Conclusion Satisfaction with fecal continence generally is high after TEM. Tumor level, size of tumor, and radiation therapy do not affect the level of satisfaction after TEM. Younger age and benign nature of the lesion help patients to cope better with lifestyle changes and reduce depression. Patients with submucosal excision have a significantly higher level of satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Fecal incontinence
  • Quality of life
  • Questionnaire
  • Transanal endoscopic microsurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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