High risk of permanent stoma after anastomotic leakage in anterior resection for rectal cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim: This study investigates how often bowel continuity was restored after anastomotic leakage in anterior resection for rectal cancer and assesses the clinical factors associated with permanent stoma. Method: The Swedish Colorectal Cancer Registry was used to identify cases of anastomotic leakage registered in southern Sweden between January 2001 and December 2011. Patient characteristics, surgical details and clinical information about the anastomotic leakages were retrieved from medical records. Results: Of the 1442 patients operated on with anterior resection in 11 hospitals, 144 (10%) were diagnosed with anastomotic leakage after anterior resection for rectal cancer. After a median follow-up of 87 months (range 21–165), the overall rate of permanent stoma among patients with anastomotic leakage was 65%. Age ≥ 70 years (P = 0.02) and re-laparotomy (P < 0.001) were independently related to permanent stoma. Compared with nondefunctioned patients with anastomotic leakage, defunctioned patients with anastomotic leakage at the index procedure less often required re-laparotomy at some point during the entire clinical course (P < 0.001), but nondefunctioned and defunctioned patients with anastomotic leakage both had permanent stoma to the same extent (67% and 62%, respectively). Conclusion: Anastomotic leakage is highly associated with permanent stoma after anterior resection, especially in patients aged ≥ 70 years. In this cohort of patients with anastomotic leakage, 65% had permanent stoma at long-term follow-up. A defunctioning stoma ameliorates the clinical course but does not affect the end result of bowel continuity in established anastomotic leakage after anterior resection.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Uppsala University Hospital
  • Blekinge Hospital
  • Central Hospital Kristianstad
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Surgery


  • Anastomotic leakage, anterior resection, permanent stoma, rectal cancer
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-182
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number2
Early online date2018 Nov 9
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch