BACKGROUND: Wound complications are frequent flowing abdominoperineal resection (APR); this can lengthen the time to chemotherapy. Flap reconstruction is being used in an attempt to improve wound healing.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effect of flap reconstruction after APR on time to perineal wound healing and administration of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with rectal adenocarcinoma.
METHODS: A retrospective review of patients who underwent APR for rectal adenocarcinoma between 2002 and 2012 was performed. Patients were divided into two groups based on type of perineal wound closure (primary vs. flap). Patients were compared for time to perineal wound healing, and time to adjuvant chemotherapy.
RESULTS: 115 patients were identified; of whom 67 received adjuvant chemotherapy. 56 (84%) patients underwent primary closure while 11 (16%) underwent flap reconstruction. There was no difference in time to perineal wound healing (6.8 vs. 6.3 weeks, p = 0.40) and time to receive adjuvant chemotherapy (9.3 vs. 10.7 weeks, p = 0.79) between the primary closure and flap reconstruction groups, respectively. 25 (45%) of the primary closure group had a delay in receiving adjuvant chemotherapy versus 6 (55%) of the flap reconstruction group (p = 0.55). Delay in receiving adjuvant chemotherapy because of perineal wound complications occurred in 18 (32%) patients with primary closure versus 3 (28%) patients with flap reconstruction (p = 0.14).
CONCLUSIONS: Flap reconstruction does not reduce the length of time to initiating chemotherapy; there was no difference in length of healing between the two groups. Therefore, flap reconstruction should be selectively used based on the size of the perineal defect.
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