Surgery remains the cornerstone in rectal cancer treatment. Abdominoperineal excision (APE), described more than 100 years ago, remains as an important procedure for the treatment of selected advanced distal tumors with direct invasion of the anal sphincter or pre-operative fecal incontinence. Historically, oncological outcomes of patients undergoing APE have been worse when compared to sphincter preserving operations. More recently, it has been suggested that patients undergoing APE for distal rectal cancer are more likely to have positive circumferential resection margins and intraoperative perforation, known surrogate markers for local recurrence. Recently, an alternative approach known as "Extralevator Abdominoperineal Excision" has been described in an effort to improve rates of circumferential margin positivity possibly resulting in better oncological outcomes compared to the standard procedure. The objective of this paper is to provide a technical description and compare available data of both Extralevator and Standard abdominal perineal excision techniques.
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