Aim: The study aimed to compare recent reports on standard and alternative methods of abdominoperineal excision for low rectal cancer regarding the rates of circumferential resection margin involvement and intra-operative bowel perforation. Method: Data on rates of margin involvement and perforation were obtained from eight recently published reports and also from a prospective registry of resections at Concord Hospital. Rates of these outcomes and their 95% confidence intervals were evaluated. Results: There was no evidence that extralevator abdominoperineal excision yielded significantly lower rates of resection margin involvement or intra-operative bowel perforation compared with standard abdominoperineal excision in six independent hospital- and population-based patient series. Abdominosacral resection of the rectum, on the other hand, did show significantly lower rates of these endpoints, albeit in selected patients. Conclusion: The role of extralevator abdominoperineal excision and abdominosacral resection of the rectum should be investigated further in randomized controlled trials.