Author(s): Resegotti A
Anastomotic configuration may influence anastomotic leak rates. The aim of this study was to determine whether a side-to-side stapled ileocolonic anastomosis produces lower anastomotic leak rates than those with a handsewn end-to-end ileocolonic anastomosis after ileocecal or ileocolonic resection for Crohn's disease. A series of 122 consecutive patients underwent elective ileocecal or ileocolonic resection with ileocolonic anastomosis for Crohn's disease from January 1998 to June 2003: 71 had handsewn end-to-end anastomosis and 51 had side-to-side stapled anastomosis. The choice between the two anastomoses was left to the surgeon's preference. A retrospective analysis was performed to assess if there was any difference in anastomotic leak rates. The two groups were comparable in terms of age, gender, preoperative presence of abscess or fistula, history of smoking, and albumin levels. More patients were taking steroids in the handsewn group than in the stapled group. In the handsewn group there were 10 anastomotic leaks (14.1 percent) and in the stapled group there was 1 anastomotic leak (2.0 percent) (risk difference, +12.1 percent; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.7-22.2; P = 0.02). Anastomotic configuration was the sole variable that influenced anastomotic leak rates at univariate analysis. Mortality was 1.4 percent in the handsewn group and 0 percent in the stapled group. Complications other than anastomotic leak developed in 11 patients in the hand-sewn group and in 6 patients in the stapled group. Mean postoperative hospital stay was 12.3 days in the handsewn group and 9.7 days in the stapled group (P = 0.03). Excluding those patients who had an anastomotic leak, the difference was still present (handsewn group, 10.1 days; stapled group, 9.1 days; P = 0.04). Although confirmation from randomized, controlled trials is required, side-to-side stapled anastomosis seems to substantially decrease anastomotic leak rates in surgical patients with Crohn's disease, compared with handsewn end-to-end anastomosis. Postoperative hospital stay decreased in the stapled anastomosis group, and this was not entirely a result of decreased anastomotic leak rates.