Background and aims Rectal lesions traditionally represent the first lesions approached during endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) training in the West. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of rectal ESD in North America. Methods This is a multicenter retrospective analysis of rectal ESD between January 2010 and September 2018 in 15 centers. End points included: rates of en bloc resection, R0 resection, adverse events, comparison of pre- and post-ESD histology, and factors associated with failed resection. Results In total, 171 patients (median age 63 years; 56 % men) underwent rectal ESD (median size 43 mm). En bloc resection was achieved in 141 cases (82.5 %; 95 %CI 76.8-88.2), including 24 of 27 (88.9 %) with prior failed endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR). R0 resection rate was 74.9 % (95 %CI 68.4-81.4). Post-ESD bleeding and perforation occurred in 4 (2.3 %) and 7 (4.1 %), respectively. Covert submucosal invasive cancer (SMIC) was identified in 8.6 % of post-ESD specimens. There was one case (1/120; 0.8 %) of recurrence at a median follow-up of 31 weeks; IQR: 19-76 weeks). Older age and higher body mass index (BMI) were predictors of failed R0 resection, whereas submucosal fibrosis was associated with a higher likelihood of both failed en bloc and R0 resection. Conclusion Rectal ESD in North America is safe and is associated with high en bloc and R0 resection rates. The presence of submucosal fibrosis was the main predictor of failed en bloc and R0 resection. ESD can be considered for select rectal lesions, and serves not only to establish a definitive tissue diagnosis but also to provide curative resection for lesions with covert advanced disease.