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Transperineal Management for Postoperative and Radiation Rectourethral Fistulas



The rectal sphincter preserving transperineal approach has been increasingly used successfully. We analyzed our experience with this surgical approach. A secondary aim was to evaluate the surgical outcome of energy ablative rectourethral fistulas without a concomitant interposition muscle flap.

Materials and methods

We identified all patients with rectourethral fistula who underwent rectal sphincter preserving transperineal repair from 1998 to 2011. Re-approximation of the urethral mucosa, posterior anastomotic urethroplasty or partial/total prostatectomy with urethrovesical anastomosis was performed for urinary closure. The fistula cohort was divided into 2 groups, including postoperative and energy ablative fistulas, respectively. Success after perineal rectourethral fistula repair was defined as resolution after the first attempt at repair.


A total of 23 patients underwent rectal sphincter preserving, transperineal rectourethral fistula repair. In the postoperative fistula cohort the fistula was successfully resolved in all 10 patients. A dartos interposition muscle flap was used in 2 of 10 patients. In the energy ablative cohort the fistula was successfully closed in 8 of 13 patients. An interposition muscle flap was not placed in 8 patients with an energy ablative fistula, of whom success was achieved in 5. Two of the 5 patients with an energy ablative fistula and a successful outcome without a concomitant interposition muscle flap had urinary extravasation, necessitating temporary catheterization.


Rectal sphincter preserving transperineal repair is a successful surgical method to repair postoperative and energy ablative rectourethral fistulas. An interposition muscle flap should be considered in the setting of energy ablative rectourethral fistulas to increase successful outcomes.

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