Intracorporeal versus extracorporeal anastomosis in laparoscopic right colectomy: updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

BJS Open. 2021 Nov 9;5(6):zrab133. doi: 10.1093/bjsopen/zrab133.


Background: Selection of intracorporeal anastomosis (IA) or extracorporeal anastomosis (EA) in laparoscopic right colectomy (LRC) remains controversial. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of IA compared with EA in LRC patients.

Methods: Literature was searched systematically for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared IA with EA in LRC patients until May 2021. The eligible studies for risk of bias were assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool. Data were extracted and analysed for the following outcomes of interest: operative time, length of incision, nodal harvest, bowel function recovery, postoperative pain, postoperative complications (wound infection, anastomotic leak, ileus, obstruction, reoperation), death at 30 days, duration of hospital stay and 30-day readmission.

Results: Five RCTs, including a total of 559 patients, were eligible for meta-analysis. All of the trials reported adequate random sequence generation and allocation concealment. There were significantly better outcomes in the IA group than in the EA group in time to first flatus (mean difference (MD) -0.71 (95 per cent c.i. -1.12 to -0.31), P = 0.0005), time to first passage of stool (MD -0.53 (95 per cent c.i. -0.69 to -0.37), P < 0.00001), visual analogue scale of pain on postoperative day (POD) 3 (MD -0.76 (95 per cent c.i. -1.23 to -0.28), P = 0.002), POD 4 (MD -0.83 (95 per cent c.i. -1.46 to -0.20), P = 0.01), POD 5 (MD -0.60 (95 per cent c.i. -0.95 to -0.25), P = 0.0007), length of incision (MD -1.52 (95 per cent c.i. -2.30 to -0.74), P = 0.0001) and wound infection (relative risk 0.46 (95 per cent c.i. 0.23 to 0.91), P = 0.02). However, there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in duration of hospital stay (P = 0.47), operative time (P = 0.07), number of lymph nodes harvested (P = 0.70), anastomotic leak (P = 0.88), postoperative ileus (P = 0.48), bleeding (P = 0.15), bowel obstruction (P = 0.24), reoperation (P = 0.34), readmission within 30 days (P = 0.26), and death (P = 0.70).

Conclusion: Compared with EA, IA shows a faster recovery of bowel function with fewer wound infections.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical* / adverse effects
  • Colectomy*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome