Purpose: This study is designed to describe a technique and report results for treating low anastomotic sinuses.
Methods: Restorative proctocolectomy and complicated low anterior resections were protected with diverting loop ileostomy. Contrast enemas identified anastomotic problems before ileostomy closure. Pouch-anal or colorectal anastomotic sinuses that failed to resolve with observation were treated before intestinal continuity was restored. With the patient receiving regional or general anesthesia, a rigid proctoscope or anoscope was used to identify the sinus opening. The common wall between the sinus and the bowel lumen was divided under direct vision with laparoscopic cautery scissors, and the sinus cavity was debrided with a suction cautery wand placed through the scope.
Results: Six patients with anastomotic sinuses have received outpatient treatment in the described manner during the past two years. Four patients had restorative proctocolectomies for ulcerative colitis, and two had low anastomosis for rectal cancer. Three patients presented with pelvic sepsis before the contrast study; the remainder were asymptomatic. Division of anastomotic sinus was performed one to eight months after diagnosis of the sinus. Following division, anastomotic cavities resolved in five patients by 1 month and in one patient by 12 months. In these six patients, there was one dilatable anastomotic stricture but no other anastomotic complications at follow-up 5 to 16 (mean, 9.2) months after sinus division.
Conclusion: When used in conjunction with fecal diversion, sinus unroofing by division of the common wall between the sinus and bowel lumen treats low pelvic sinuses.