Mathieu D’Hondt
Mohammed Abu Hilal

In the next chapters we aim to dessiminate knowledge about treatment of rectal cancer to as many people as possible. Therefore we found it absolutely crucial to give an inside in the general aspects on which the surgical treatment is based and make it available to all learners and other interested parties. 
Besides the anatomical complexity of the pelvis we focus on the beauty of embryology and its relation to optimal rectal cancer surgery. 
A rectal cancer tends to progress within a midline pedicle before invading beyond it. By dissecting according to embryologically derived planes this pedicle can be seperated from surrounding structures (blood vessels, nerves, ureters, etcetera..) which are mainly organized in a symmetrical way. 
Total Mesorectal Excision (TME) is based on these principles and is considered as the optimal surgical treatment for most of the rectal cancers. We focus on the laparoscopic approach, as well as the robotic approach and TaTME. A structured overview of TaTME was the first project of the iLappSurgery Foundation when started. 

introduction embrycology