LARS-like symptoms in the general population may suggest the significance of postoperative functional problems and emotional implications of rectal surgery
Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences
& Aim. Sphincter-saving rectal surgery is prone to cause changes in bowel function associated with Low Anterior Resection Syndrome (LARS). Our aim was to assess LARS-like symptoms within a population of 50-80-year old in order to understand the functional disturbances and emotional impact of LARS. Materials and methods: We used a questionnaire to evaluate LARS with the following categories of symptoms: flatulence control, anal incontinence, frequency, clustering and urgency of the stools, and
... e psycho-emotional impact created by the presence of these symptoms. We calculated the severity of LARS on 343 responders. Results. The average age of the responders (57.4% females) was 60 years. Overall, 48.1% of those questioned had no LARSassociated symptoms, while the rest presented either minor (39.9%) or major (12%) LARS-like symptomatology according to the assessment scale. Women have a higher relative risk (1.32) of having minor or major LARS. The frequency of stools did not correlate with the overall LARS score. The psycho-emotional impact was mostly influenced by the presence of incontinence (p=0.001) and urgency (p=0.05). Discussions. The study highlights the need to integrate the initial status of patients into the overall quantification of the effects of surgery on the quality of life. Age does not influence the prevalence of LARS, but symptoms seem more prevalent in women. The psycho-emotional impact is relevant to the general population, so explanations given during the informed consent and accurate description of potential consequences of surgical intervention increase compliance to ensure better post-operative control of the symptomatology. Conclusions. Deriving a normative LARS-like score may alter the interpretation and discussion of LARS scores for future rectal cancer patients, and it also provides a better understanding of the emotional impact of such symptoms on certain population subsets or cultural groups.