Anastomotic leakage following laparoscopic resection of low and mid rectal cancer

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Mostafa Shalaby
Waleed Thabet
Francesco Rulli
Francesco Palmieri
Federica Saraceno
Ilaria Capuano
Oreste Buonomo
Gabriella Giarratano
Giuseppe Petrella
Mosaad Morshed
Mohamed Farid
Pierpaolo Sileri


PURPOSE: Anastomotic leakage is considered the commonest major complication after surgery for rectal cancer.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients who underwent laparoscopic LAR or ULAR for rectal cancer were recruited. The primary outcome was the incidence of the AL during 30 days postoperative.

RESULTS: Fifty-nine consecutive patients were included in the study. Fifty-three patients underwent LAR with stapled colorectal anastomoses, while the remaining 6 patients underwent ULAR with hand-sewn coloanal anastomoses. The median duration of operation was 195 minutes (range; 120-315). The defunctioning ileostomy was created in 24 (7%) patients.

Overall, there was no recorded mortality. Only 10 (17%) patients developed complications. There were only 4 patients who developed AL. Three patients had a subclinical AL as they had defunctioning ileostomy at the time of the initial procedure, the diagnosis was made by CT with rectal contrast. They were treated conservatively with transanal anastomotic drainage under endoscopic guidance. One patient had a clinically significant AL, demonstrated as a peritonitis. This patient required reoperation during which pelvic abscess was drained, resection of the previous anastomosis, and hartmann’s colostomy was performed.

CONCLUSION: Standardization of a definition, as well as, criteria for the diagnosis of AL, will help in comparison of the results and the surgical techniques in order to optimize the required care offered to rectal cancer patients. On expert hands, it is feasible to perform a laparoscopic sphincter-saving total mesorectal excision, additionally, it provides the advantages of a clear view of the deep pelvis and facilitates a precise sharp dissection.

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How to Cite
Mostafa Shalaby, et al. “Anastomotic Leakage Following Laparoscopic Resection of Low and Mid Rectal Cancer”. Annali Italiani Di Chirurgia, vol. 90, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 57-67,