Navigating surgical anatomy of the Denonvilliers' fascia and dissection planes of the anterior mesorectum with a cadaveric simulation model.

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Anterior dissection of the rectum in the male pelvis represents one of the most complex phases of total meso-rectal excision. However, the possible existence of different anatomical planes is controversial and the exact anatomical topography of Denonvilliers' fascia is still debated. The aim of the study is to accurately define in a cadaveric simulation model the existence and boundaries of Denonvilliers' fascia, identifying the anatomical planes suitable for surgical dissection. The pelvises of 31 formalin-preserved male cadavers were dissected. Careful and detailed dissection was carried out to visualize the anatomical structures and the potential dissection planes, simulating an anterior meso-rectum dissection. Denonvilliers' fascia was identified in 100% of the pelvises, as a single-layer fascia that originates from the peritoneal reflection and descends until its firm adhesion to the prostate capsule. The fascia divides the space providing an anterior and a posterior plane. Anteriorly to the fascia, during the caudal dissection, its firm adhesion to the prostate capsule forces to section it sharply. The cadaveric simulation model allowed an accurate description of Denonvilliers' fascia, defining several planes for anterior dissection of the meso-rectum.
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CIE Terms
Denonvilliers’ fascia, Rectal cancer, Surgical anatomy, Total meso-rectal excision