Background: Anastomotic leakage is a major complication of rectal cancer surgery. The aim of this study was to investigate risk factors associated with symptomatic anastomotic leakage after total mesorectal excision (TME).
Methods: Between 1996 and 1999, patients with operable rectal cancer were randomized to receive short-term radiotherapy followed by TME or to undergo TME alone. Eligible Dutch patients who underwent an anterior resection (924 patients) were studied retrospectively.
Results: Symptomatic anastomotic leakage occurred in 107 patients (11.6 per cent). Pelvic drainage and the use of a defunctioning stoma were significantly associated with a lower anastomotic failure rate. A significant correlation between the absence of a stoma and anastomotic dehiscence was observed in both men and women, for both distal and proximal rectal tumours. In patients with anastomotic failure, the presence of pelvic drains and a covering stoma were both related to a lower requirement for surgical reintervention.
Conclusion: Placement of one or more pelvic drains after TME may limit the consequences of anastomotic failure. The clinical decision to construct a defunctioning stoma is supported by this study.
- LOW ANTERIOR RESECTION
- PREOPERATIVE RADIOTHERAPY
- COLORECTAL ANASTOMOSIS
- DEFUNCTIONING STOMA
- ANAL ANASTOMOSIS
- PELVIC DRAINAGE