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Inadvertent perforation during rectal cancer resection in Norway. BJS 2004; 91: 210-216.

Published: 24th December 2003

Authors: M. T. Eriksen, A. Wibe, A. Syse, J. Haffner, J. N. Wiig


Inadvertent perforation of the bowel or tumour is a relatively common complication during resection of rectal cancer. The purpose of this study was to examine intraoperative perforation following the introduction of mesorectal excision as a standard surgical technique in Norway.


This was a prospective national cohort study of 2873 patients undergoing major resection of rectal carcinoma at 54 Norwegian hospitals from November 1993 to December 1999.


The overall perforation rate was 8·1 per cent (234 of 2873 patients). In a multivariate analysis, the risk of perforation was significantly greater in patients undergoing abdominoperineal resection (odds ratio (OR) 5·6 (95 per cent confidence interval (c.i.) 3·5 to 8·8)) and in those aged 80 years or more (OR 2·0 (95 per cent c.i. 1·2 to 3·5)). The 5‐year local recurrence rate was 28·8 per cent following perforation, compared with 9·9 per cent in patients with no perforation (P < 0·001); survival rates were 41·5 and 67·1 per cent respectively (P < 0·001).


The risk of intraoperative perforation was significantly greater in patients with rectal cancer undergoing abdominoperineal resection and in those aged 80 years or more. The high local recurrence rates and reduced survival following perforation call for increased attention to avoid this complication. Copyright © 2003 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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