Hypothesis: A 1-layer, continuous technique for esophageal anastomosis after esophagectomy has been in routine use at the University of Hong Kong Medical Centre since 1996. This study aims to document the results of this method and examine factors that may predispose patients to complications associated with esophageal anastomosis.
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: University academic surgical center.
Patients and methods: We studied 218 consecutive patients who had an esophageal anastomosis constructed with a 1-layer, continuous technique. Data were prospectively collected.
Main outcome measures: Morbidity and mortality rates, anastomotic leaks, stricture, and recurrences.
Results: Anastomotic leaks affected 7 patients (3.2%), of whom 3 required surgical reexploration and none died. The hospital mortality rate was 0.9% (2 patients), attributed to myocardial infarction and malignancy. Anastomotic strictures developed in 24 patients (11.1%). Multivariate analysis in those with gastric conduits showed that a cervical anastomosis (intrathoracic vs cervical; odds ratio, 0.27; 95% confidence interval, 0.08-0.87; P = .03) and use of the distal stomach (distal stomach vs whole stomach; odds ratio, 5.25; 95% confidence interval, 1.65-16.66; P = .005) were predictive of benign anastomotic stricture formation. Eleven patients (17.5%) who had a cervical anastomosis developed strictures compared with 13 (8.6%) in those who had intrathoracic anastomoses. Strictures developed in 12 patients (7.4%) with a whole stomach conduit and in 9 patients (19.6%) with a distal stomach conduit. Anastomotic recurrence occurred in 8 patients (3.7%); none had a histologically involved resection margin.
Conclusions: The single-layer, continuous, hand-sewn technique for esophageal anastomosis is safe and effective. Cervical anastomosis and use of the distal stomach were associated with more benign strictures.