Background: The expanding indications of local – endoscopic and transanal surgical – resection of early rectal cancer has led to their increased popularity and inclusion in the treatment guidelines. The accuracy of the current diagnostic tools in identifying the low-risk T1 tumors that can be curatively treated with a local resection is low, and thus several patients require additional oncologic surgery with total mesorectal excision (TME). An efficient clinical strategy which avoids overtreatment and obstacle surgical procedures is under debate between different disciplines. Summary: Completion surgery has comparable outcomes to primary surgery regarding perioperative morbidity and mortality but also recurrence rates and overall survival. However, local scarring in the mesorectum can make mesorectal excision technically challenging, especially after full-thickness resections, and has been associated with increased rates of permanent ostomy and worse quality of the TME specimen. This risk seems to be lower after muscle-sparing procedures like endoscopic submucosal dissection, which seem to show a benefit in comparison to full-thickness resections. Key Messages: Completion surgery after non-curative local resection of gastrointestinal malignancies is safe and feasible. Full-thickness resection techniques can cause scarring of the mesorectum; therefore, muscle-sparing procedures should be preferred.

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