Author(s): Localio SA, Eng K, Ranson JH
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Abstract The relative rarity and anatomical position of retrorectal tumors may lead to difficulty in diagnosis and surgical treatment. The clinical features and management of 20 such tumors (chordoma 8, neurilemmoma 3, teratoma 3, hemangiopericytoma 1, chondrosarcoma 1, osteosarcoma 1, dermoid 1, lipoma 1, and undifferentiated sarcoma 1) have therefore been reviewed. Low back or sacral pain was present in 18 patients and, although all tumors were palpable on rectal examination, pain had been present for a median of 12 months before diagnosis. Mean tumor size was 9.4 cm (range: 2.5-17 cm). Sacral bone destruction was demonstrated radiographically in all chordomas and three sarcomas, but in none of the benign tumors. Three patients had undergone previous partial removal of their tumors. Surgical resection was carried out using a combined abdominal and transsacral approach in 13, a transsacral approach in the right lateral position in four and transabdominally in three. There was one operative death following secondary operation for chbrdoma. Four of 12 patients with malignant tumors are alive and well at seven months to eight years. One died of a myocardial infarct without recurrence at 11 years. For small benign tumors, the right lateral position permits maximal flexibility for resection either by the transsacral, transabdominal or a combined approach. For bulky or malignant tumors, a combined abdominal transsacral approach in the right lateral position permits vascular control and provides good exposure for protection of vital structures and wide resection.
This article was published in Ann Surg
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports