Purpose: Perianastomotic recurrence after resection in Crohn's disease may be related to ischemia and subacute obstruction at the anastomosis. A technique designed to minimize these factors currently is being evaluated.
Methods: From 1984 to 1997 69 patients underwent resection and primary anastomosis for symptomatic Crohn's disease (17 jejunal or ileal, 72 ileocolic, and 7 colocolic resections). Of these, 42 patients underwent functional end-to-end anastomoses with the use of linear cutting staplers (Proximate 75 mm or GIA 228 80 mm) and 27 patients underwent end-to-end sutured anastomoses.
Results: In the stapled anastomosis group one (2 percent) patient required reoperation for recurrent symptoms at 46 months. Complications occurred in four (8 percent) patients (one enterocutaneous fistula, one wound infection, one abscess, and one ileus). There were no anastomotic leaks. The median postoperative stay was seven (range, 5-26) days. In the sutured anastomosis group 14 (43 percent) patients required 15 further resections for symptomatic recurrence at a median of 46 (range, 4-91) months. Complications occurred in six (17 percent) patients (two anastomotic leaks, two fistulas, one stricture, and one pulmonary embolus). The median postoperative stay was 10 (range, 6-28) days.
Conclusions: Functional end-to-end stapled anastomoses after resection for Crohn's disease may be associated with fewer complications than sutured anastomoses and may delay reoperation for symptomatic recurrence. Further evaluation of the technique is indicated.