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Minimally Invasive Management of Rectourethral Fistulae

      Abstract

      Objective

      To report our experience and outcomes in minimally invasive management of rectourethral fistula (RUF).

      Methods

      From 2004 to 2021, 15 patients who underwent minimally invasive RUF repair by a single surgeon at 2 international institutions were retrospectively reviewed. Baseline demographic characteristics, perioperative, and postoperative data were collected. Complications were reported using the modified Clavien-Dindo Classification System and the European Association of Urology Complication Panel Assesment and Recommendations. Success was defined as complete resolution of fistula-related symptoms at 12-month follow-up along with confirmation of fistula closure by imaging or cystoscopy. Categorical variables were presented as frequencies and percentages whereas continuous variables were reported as median and quartiles.

      Results

      Fifteen male patients with a median age of 71 (64-79.2) years were treated. Four cases (26.6%) occurred postsurgery, 8 cases (53.3%) occurred after energy treatments, and 3 cases (20%) after surgery combined with an energy treatment modality. A robotic and laparoscopic approach was performed in 9 (60%) and 6 (40%) patients, respectively. No intraoperative complications were reported. Median operative time was 264 (217.5-341) minutes, estimated blood loss was 175 (137.5-200) mL, and the length of hospital stay was 4 days. Nine postoperative complications were reported. All patients were followed-up for 12 months with no recurrence reported. All patients reached our criteria for successful RUF repair.

      Conclusions

      Minimally invasive surgery could represent an efficient way to manage RUF in selected patients. More studies and treatment standardization are needed to assess the role of minimally invasive surgery in the management of RUF.
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