Comparison of hand-sewn and stapled esophagogastric anastomosis after esophageal resection for cancer: a prospective randomized controlled trial

Ann Surg. 1997 Aug;226(2):169-73. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199708000-00008.


Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the hand-sewn and stapled methods in esophagogastric anastomosis.

Summary background data: After esophageal resection for cancer, the relative merits of the hand-sewn and the stapled methods of esophagogastric anastomosis, especially regarding leakage and stricture rates, have not adequately been studied.

Methods: A prospective randomized controlled trial was undertaken in 122 patients with squamous cell cancer of the thoracic esophagus who underwent a Lewis-Tanner esophagectomy. Patients were stratified according to esophageal size, based on the diameter of the divided esophagus (< or > or = 30 mm) and then were randomized to have either a hand-sewn or a stapled anastomosis.

Results: The mean total operating times (standard error of the mean) when the hand-sewn and the stapled methods were used were 214 (4) minutes and 217 (3.4) minutes, respectively (p = not significant [NS]). The respective in vivo proximal resection margins (standard error of the mean) were 8 (0.4) cm and 7.6 (0.4) cm (p = NS). Leakage rates were 1.6% and 4.9% (p = NS). Excluding hospital deaths, patients with leakage or anastomotic recurrence, and those who received radiation therapy to histologically infiltrated resection margin, anastomotic stricture was found in 5 (9.1%) of 55 patients in the hand-sewn group and 20 (40%) of 50 in the stapler group (p = 0.0003). The difference in stricture rates was significant in small as well as large esophagi. Anastomotic recurrence developed in only one patient in each group.

Conclusions: The authors conclude that both methods were safe, but the stapled technique resulted in more stricture formation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Constriction, Pathologic / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Esophagectomy*
  • Esophagus / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stomach / surgery*
  • Suture Techniques* / adverse effects