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Review
. 2015 Dec 27;7(12):378-83.
doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v7.i12.378.

Management of Low Colorectal Anastomotic Leak: Preserving the Anastomosis

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Free PMC article
Review

Management of Low Colorectal Anastomotic Leak: Preserving the Anastomosis

Jennifer Blumetti et al. World J Gastrointest Surg. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Anastomotic leak continues to be a dreaded complication after colorectal surgery, especially in the low colorectal or coloanal anastomosis. However, there has been no consensus on the management of the low colorectal anastomotic leak. Currently operative procedures are reserved for patients with frank purulent or feculent peritonitis and unstable vital signs, and vary from simple fecal diversion with drainage to resection of the anastomosis and closure of the rectal stump with end colostomy (Hartmann's procedure). However, if the patient is stable, and the leak is identified days or even weeks postoperatively, less aggressive therapeutic measures may result in healing of the leak and salvage of the anastomosis. Advances in diagnosis and treatment of pelvic collections with percutaneous treatments, and newer methods of endoscopic therapies for the acutely leaking anastomosis, such as use of the endosponge, stents or clips, have greatly reduced the need for surgical intervention in selected cases. Diverting ileostomy, if not already in place, may be considered to reduce fecal contamination. For subclinical leaks or those that persist after the initial surgery, endoluminal approaches such as injection of fibrin sealant, use of endoscopic clips, or transanal closure of the very low anastomosis may be utilized. These newer techniques have variable success rates and must be individualized to the patient, with the goal of treatment being restoration of gastrointestinal continuity and healing of the anastomosis. A review of the treatment of low colorectal anastomotic leaks is presented.

Keywords: Anastomotic leak; Colon and rectal surgery; Colorectal anastomosis; Endoscopic treatment; Management anastomotic leak; Surgical complications.

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