Send to

Choose Destination
J Gastrointest Surg. 2014 Apr;18(4):831-8. doi: 10.1007/s11605-013-2381-4. Epub 2013 Nov 19.

High 1-year complication rate after anterior resection for rectal cancer.

Author information

Department of Surgery, Leiden University Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9600, 2300, RC, Leiden, The Netherlands,



Surgical options after anterior resection for rectal cancer include a primary anastomosis, anastomosis with a defunctioning stoma, and an end colostomy. This study describes short-term and 1-year outcomes of these different surgical strategies.


Patients undergoing surgical resection for primary mid and high rectal cancer were retrospectively studied in seven Dutch hospitals with 1-year follow-up. Short-term endpoints were postoperative complications, re-interventions, prolonged hospital stay, and mortality. One-year endpoints were unplanned readmissions and re-interventions, presence of stoma, and mortality.


Nineteen percent of 388 included patients received a primary anastomosis, 55% an anastomosis with defunctioning stoma, and 27% an end colostomy. Short-term anastomotic leakage was 10% in patients with a primary anastomosis vs. 7% with a defunctioning stoma (Pā€‰=ā€‰0.46). An end colostomy was associated with less severe re-interventions. One-year outcomes showed low morbidity and mortality rates in patients with an anastomosis. Patients with a defunctioning stoma had high (18%) readmissions and re-intervention (12%) rates, mostly due to anastomotic leakage. An end colostomy was associated with unplanned re-interventions due to stoma/abscess problems. During follow-up, there was a 30% increase in patients with an end colostomy.


This study showed a high 1-year morbidity rate after anterior resection for rectal cancer. A defunctioning stoma was associated with a high risk for late complications including anastomotic leakage. An end colostomy is a safe alternative to prevent anastomotic leakage, but stomal problems cannot be ignored. Selecting low-risk patients for an anastomosis may lead to favorable short- and 1-year outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center