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Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2007 Aug;20(3):190-202. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-984863.

Total mesorectal excision: what are we doing?

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  • 1Division of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish-Christian Hospital, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The introduction of total mesorectal excision (TME) for rectal cancer has reduced local recurrence rates and improved oncologic outcomes, although complication rates such as anastomotic leak have also been a consequence. With the advent of neoadjuvant therapy for rectal cancer, many are questioning how this development may change the role of TME. This review presents a history of how TME evolved and a description of this technique. Complication rates, the impact of neoadjuvant therapy on local recurrence, variations of TME such as nerve-sparing proctectomy and cancer-specific mesorectal excision, and a review of functional outcomes for various methods of reconstruction are presented.


Total mesorectal excision; rectal cancer; recurrence; review article; surgical technique

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