Aim: To determine the incidence and factors responsible for anastomotic leaks and stricture following anterior resection (AR) and its subsequent management.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of data from 108 patients with rectal carcinoma who underwent AR or low anterior resection (LAR) to identify the various preoperative, operative, and post operative factors that might have influence on anastomotic leaks and strictures.
Results: There were 68 males and 40 females with an average of 47 years (range 21-75 years). The median distance of the tumor from the anal verge was 8 cm (range 3-15 cm). Sixty (55.6%) patients underwent handsewn anastomosis and 48 (44.4%) were stapled. The median operating time was 3.5 h (range 2.0-7.5 h). Sixteen (14.6%) patients had an anastomotic leak. Among these, 11 patients required re-exploration and five were managed expectantly. The anastomotic leak rate was similar in patients with and without diverting stoma (8/60, 13.4% with stoma and 8/48; 16.7% without stoma). In 15 (13.9%) patients, resection margins were positive for malignancy. Nineteen (17.6%) patients developed anastomotic strictures at a median duration of 8 mo (range 3-20 mo). Among these, 15 patients were successfully managed with per-anal dilatation. On multivariate analysis, advance age (> 60 years) was the only risk factor for anastomotic leak (P = 0.004). On the other hand, anastomotic leak (P = 0.00), mucin positive tumor (P = 0.021), and lower rectal growth (P = 0.011) were found as risk factors for the development of an anastomotic stricture.
Conclusion: Advance age is a risk factor for an anastomotic leak. An anastomotic leak, a mucin-secreting tumor, and lower rectal growth predispose patients to develop anastomotic strictures.
Keywords: Anastomotic leak; Anterior resection; Rectal carcinoma; Stricture.