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Surgery. 1994 Sep;116(3):484-90.

Infraperitoneal colorectal anastomosis: hand-sewn versus circular staples. A controlled clinical trial. French Associations for Surgical Research.

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French Associations for Surgical Research, Bois-Colombes.



Disagreement continues among several studies as to the relative advantages and disadvantages of stapled versus sutured colorectal anastomoses.


One hundred and thirteen consecutive patients (48 men and 65 women, mean age: 67 +/- 12 years) were randomized to either hand-sewn (n = 59) or stapled (n = 54) infraperitoneal colorectal anastomosis. Both groups had similar patient demographics except that fewer patients (4 versus 15) had chronic disease (p < 0.02) and were undergoing side-to-end (11 versus 39) and more patients were undergoing end-to-end (37 versus 20) anastomosis in the stapled group (p < 0.001).


Overall mortality was 6% (7 of 113 patients), with no difference found between the two types of anastomosis. Fewer anastomotic leaks occurred in the stapled group (11 versus 7), with an a posteriori gamma error of 11%, whereas the other early postoperative complications occurred with similar frequency in the two groups. Nine mishaps occurred in the stapled group. Stapled anastomoses took less time (median, 42 versus 30 minutes) to perform (p < 0.02). At 8 months, two strictures occurred in the hand-sewn group (n = 52) compared with eight strictures in the stapled group (n = 50) (p < 0.001).


It was not possible to prove that lower anastomosis can be achieved with the stapling device. Routine or regular use of stapling instruments for infraperitoneal colorectal anastomosis cannot be advocated because of higher incidence of mishaps and strictures, even though the operation takes less time to perform and anastomotic leakage occurs less often.

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