Background: Perineal wound complications are often encountered following abdominoperineal resection (APR). Filling of the pelvic space by omentoplasty (OP) might prevent these complications, but there is scant evidence to support its routine application.
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of OP on perineal wound complications.
Methods: All patients undergoing APR with primary perineal closure (PPC) for non-locally advanced rectal cancer in 71 Dutch centers in 2011 were selected from a cross-sectional snapshot study. Outcomes were compared between PPC with or without OP, which was based on variability in practice among surgeons.
Results: Of 639 patients who underwent APR for rectal cancer, 477 had a non-locally advanced tumor and PPC was performed. Of those, 172 (36%) underwent OP. Patients with OP statistically more often underwent an extralevator approach (32% vs. 14%). Median follow-up was 41 months (interquartile range 22-47). There were no significant differences with or without OP in terms of non-healing of the perineal wound at 30 days (47% vs. 48%), non-healing at the end of follow-up (9% vs. 5%), pelvic abscess (12% vs. 13%) or re-intervention for ileus (5% vs. 3%). Perineal hernia developed significantly more often after OP (13% vs. 7%), also by multivariable analysis (odds ratio 2.61, 95% confidence interval 1.271-5.364; p = 0.009).
Conclusions: In contrast to previous assumptions, OP after APR with PPC appeared not to improve perineal wound healing and seemed to increase the occurrence of perineal hernia. These findings question the routine use of OP for primary filling of the pelvic space.