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Chinese Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery ; (12): 578-587, 2023.
Article in Chinese | WPRIM | ID: wpr-986823


Objective: To document the anatomical structure of the area anterior to the anorectum passing through the levator hiatus between the levator ani slings bilaterally. Methods: Three male hemipelvises were examined at the Laboratory of Clinical Applied Anatomy, Fujian Medical University. (1) The anatomical assessment was performed in three ways; namely, by abdominal followed by perineal dissection, by examining serial cross-sections, and by examining median sagittal sections. (2) The series was stained with hematoxylin and eosin to enable identification of nerves, vessels, and smooth and striated muscles. Results: (1) It was found that the rectourethralis muscle is closest to the deep transverse perineal muscle where the longitudinal muscle of the rectum extends into the posteroinferior area of the membranous urethra. The communicating branches of the neurovascular bundle (NVB) were identified at the posterior edge of the rectourethralis muscle on both sides. The rectum was found to be fixed to the membranous urethra through the rectourethral muscle, contributing to the anorectal angle of the anterior rectal wall. (2) Serial cross-sections from the anal to the oral side were examined. At the level of the external anal sphincter, the longitudinal muscle of the rectum was found to extend caudally and divide into two muscle bundles on the oral side of the external anal sphincter. One of these muscle bundles angled dorsally and caudally, forming the conjoined longitudinal muscle, which was found to insert into the intersphincteric space (between the internal and external anal sphincters). The other muscle bundle angled ventrally and caudally, filling the gap between the external anal sphincter and the bulbocavernosus muscle, forming the perineal body. At the level of the superficial transverse perineal muscle, this small muscle bundle headed laterally and intertwined with the longitudinal muscle in the region of the perineal body. At the level of the rectourethralis and deep transverse perineal muscle, the external urethral sphincter was found to occupy an almost completely circular space along the membranous part of the urethra. The dorsal part of the external urethral sphincter was found to be thin at the point of attachment of the rectourethralis muscle, the ventral part of the longitudinal muscle of the rectum. We identified a venous plexus from the NVB located close to the oral and ventral side of the deep transverse perineal muscle. Many vascular branches from the NVB were found to be penetrating the longitudinal muscle and the ventral part of rectourethralis muscle at the level of the apex of the prostate. The rectourethral muscle was wrapped ventrally around the membranous urethra and apex of the prostate. The boundary between the longitudinal muscle and prostate gradually became more distinct, being located at the anterior end of the transabdominal dissection plane. (3) Histological examination showed that the dorsal part of the external urethral sphincter (striated muscle) is thin adjacent to the striated muscle fibers from the deep transverse perineal muscle and the NVB dorsally and close by. The rectourethral muscle was found to fill the space created by the internal anal sphincter, deep transverse perineal muscle, and both levator ani muscles. Many tortuous vessels and tiny nerve fibers from the NVB were identified penetrating the muscle fibers of the deep transverse perineal and rectourethral muscles. The structure of the superficial transverse perineal muscle was typical of striated muscle. These findings were reconstructed three-dimensionally. Conclusions: In intersphincteric resection or abdominoperineal resection for very low rectal cancer, the anterior dissection plane behind Denonvilliers' fascia disappears at the level of the apex of the prostate. The prostate and both NVBs should be used as landmarks during transanal dissection of the non-surgical plane. The rectourethralis muscle should be divided near the rectum side unless tumor involvement is suspected. The superficial and deep transverse perineal muscles, as well as their supplied vessels and nerve fibers from the NVB. In addition, the cutting direction should be adjusted according to the anorectal angle to minimize urethral injury.

Humans , Male , Rectum/surgery , Anal Canal/anatomy & histology , Rectal Neoplasms/surgery , Proctectomy , Urethra/surgery