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J Vis Exp. 2010 Nov 4;(45). pii: 2223. doi: 10.3791/2223.

The C-seal: a biofragmentable drain protecting the stapled colorectal anastomosis from leakage.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Division of Abdominal Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen.


Colorectal anastomotic leakage (AL) is a serious complication in colorectal surgery leading to high morbidity and mortality rates. The incidence of AL varies between 2.5 and 20%. Over the years, many strategies aimed at lowering the incidence of anastomotic leakage have been examined. The cause of AL is probably multifactorial. Etiological factors include insufficient arterial blood supply, tension on the anastomosis, hematoma and/or infection at the anastomotic site, and co-morbid factors of the patient as diabetes and atherosclerosis. Furthermore, some anastomoses may be insufficient from the start due to technical failure. Currently a new device is developed in our institute aimed at protecting the colorectal anastomosis and lowering the incidence of AL. This so called C-seal is a biofragmentable drain, which is stapled to the anastomosis with the circular stapler. It covers the luminal side of the colorectal anastomosis thereby preventing leakage. The C-seal is a thin-walled tube-like drain, with an approximate diameter of 4 cm and an approximate length of 25 cm. It is a tubular device composed of biodegradable polyurethane. Two flaps with adhesive tape are found at one end of the tube. These flaps are used to attach the C-seal to the anvil of the circular stapler, so that after the anastomosis is made the C-seal can be pulled through the anus. The C-seal remains in situ for at least 10 days. Thereafter it will lose strength and will degrade to be secreted from the body together with the gastrointestinal natural contents. The C-seal does not prevent the formation of dehiscences. However, it prevents extravasation of faeces into the peritoneal cavity. This means that a gap at the anastomotic site does not lead to leakage. Currently, a phase II study testing the C-seal in 35 patients undergoing (colo-)rectal resection with stapled anastomosis is recruiting. The C-seal can be used in both open procedures as well as laparoscopic procedures. The C-seal is only applied in stapled anastomoses within 15 cm from the anal verge. In the video, application of the C-seal is shown in an open extended sigmoid resection in a patient suffering from diverticular disease with a stenotic colon.

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