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Dig Surg. 2002;19(2):92-8.

Anastomotic complications after esophagectomy.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium.


Anastomotic complications after esophagectomy continue to be a burden jeopardizing the quality of life and of swallowing. However, incidence, mortality and morbidity of anastomotic complications have substantially decreased in recent years. It seems that this is not so much related to the use of a particular conduit, approach or route for reconstruction, but rather related to refinement in anastomotic techniques and perhaps even more to progress in modern perioperative management. Knowledge of surgical anatomy and meticulous technique are of paramount importance and obviously related to individual expertise. As to the management, most leaks can be treated by conservative measures and reintervention surgery today is rather exceptional. Early endoscopy and dilatation seem to decrease the incidence and severity of anastomotic stenosis.

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