Retrorectal cyst

Kristen Donohue, Nell Maloney Patel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Retrorectal masses are a rare, heterogeneous group of tumors. High index of suspicion and early diagnosis is important for prompt treatment, and avoiding early complications such as infection and malignant transformation. A thorough history and physical exam including digital rectal exam along with proctoscopy or endorectal ultrasound, CAT scan and/or MRI is often sufficient for preoperative planning. All retrorectal masses should be excised surgically, unless there is high suspicion of a chemosensitive tumor, or the lesion is unresectable. Avoid preoperative biopsy of cystic lesions, and do not biopsy via rectum or vagina to avoid infectious complications. Choosing the proper operative approach based on the tumor location and characteristics will enable the best access to the tumor, and the safest procedure. Complications range from bleeding, infection, rectal injury, recurrence, and neurologic sequelae. Careful attention to surrounding structures, access to vascular control, preoperative bowel preparation, and complete microscopic R-0 excision when possible can help to minimize these complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComplications of Anorectal Surgery
Subtitle of host publicationPrevention and Management
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319484068
ISBN (Print)9783319484044
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


  • Bleeding
  • Chordoma
  • Cystic hamartoma
  • Developmental cysts
  • Epidermoid cysts
  • Infection
  • Meningocele
  • Presacral
  • Rectal fistula
  • Recurrence
  • Retrorectal
  • Urinary retention


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