Pelvic Reconstruction following Abdominoperineal Resection and Pelvic Exenteration: Management Practices among Plastic and Colorectal Surgeons Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Background Pelvic reconstruction with a muscle flap significantly improves postoperative outcomes following abdominoperineal resection (APR). Despite it being the gold standard, significant surgeon-selection bias remains with respect to the necessity of pelvic obliteration, flap choice, and ostomy placement. The objective of the study was to characterize management practices among colorectal surgeons (CSs) and plastic surgeons (PSs). Methods Specialty-specific surveys were distributed electronically to CSs and PSs via surgical societies. Surveys were designed to illustrate geographic and specialty-specific differences in management. Results Of 106 (54 CSs and 52 PSs) respondents (58% Canada, 21% Europe, 14% the United States, and 6% Asia/Africa), significant interdisciplinary differences in practices were observed. Most respondents indicated that multidisciplinary meetings were not performed (74% of CSs and 78% of PSs). For a nonradiated pelvic dead space with small perineal defect, 91% of CSs and 56% of PSs indicated that flap reconstruction was not required. For a radiated pelvic dead space with small perineal defect, only 54% of CSs and 6% of PSs indicated that there was no need for flap reconstruction. With respect to ostomy placement, 87% of CSs and 21% of PSs indicated that stoma placement through the rectus was superior. When two ostomies were required, most CSs preferred exteriorizing ostomies through bilateral recti and requesting thigh-based reconstruction. PSs favored the vertical rectus abdominis muscle (VRAM; 52%) over the gracilis (23%) and inferior gluteal artery perforator (IGAP; 23%) flaps. Among PSs, North Americans favor abdominally based flaps (VRAM 60%), while Europeans favor gluteal-based flaps (IGAP 78%). Conclusion A lack of standardization continues to exist with respect to the reconstruction of pelvic defects following APR and pelvic exenteration. Geographic and interdisciplinary biases with respect to ostomy placement, flap choice, and role for pelvic obliteration continues to influence reconstructive practices. These cases should continue to be approached on a case by case basis, driven by pathology, presence of radiation, comorbidities, and the size of the pelvic and perineal defect.


  • Stein, Michael J
  • Karir, Aneesh
  • Hanson, Melissa N
  • Cavale, Naveen
  • Almoudaris, Alex M
  • Voineskos, Sophocles

publication date

  • February 2022