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Colorectal Dis. 2011 Jan;13(1):26-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2010.02377.x.

The persisting presacral sinus after anastomotic leakage following anterior resection or restorative proctocolectomy.

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Department of Surgery, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Despite improvements in anastomotic technique, anastomotic leakage is frequently encountered following anterior resection. This can eventually evolve into a presacral sinus. This study assessed the incidence, the natural course and the outcome of persisting presacral sinus.


Patients who underwent low anterior resection (LAR) for cancer or restorative proctocolectomy (RPC) for ulcerative colitis or familial polyposis were eligible. Patients with anastomotic leakage or a presacral abscess were included. Outcome parameters included a persistent presacral sinus, or its closure and average time to closure and the stoma closure rate.


Twenty-five patients were identified with a sinus after LAR (n = 20) or RPC (n = 5). A persistent sinus was present in nine (1%) of 834 patients after LAR and two (0.9%) of 229 patients after RPC. Definitive resolution of the sinus occurred in 12 (52%) of 23 assessable patients. This was achieved at a median of 340 days (range 23-731 days). At final follow-up, nine of the 23 patients had permanent faecal diversion because of recurrent abscess or persistent sinus formation, seven after LAR and two after RPC.


A significant proportion of patients with anastomotic leakage after rectal surgery develop a chronic sinus, of which only half heal over time. Persisting sinus is the main reason for a permanent stoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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