Introduction. Colorectal cancer is a common type of malignant disease of the digestive tract. Anastomotic leakage (AL) still represents a serious complication in gastrointestinal surgery, associated with high morbidity and mortality.

Methods. We conducted a retrospective case-control study and analyzed a single surgeon's data about 359 patients treated for colorectal cancer. Patients were divided as follows: Study Group (patients with AL - 37 patients) and Control Group (patients without AL - 322 patients). Surgical and anastomotic technique-related information was processed.

Results. Surgical procedures for right sided colon tumors resulted in a significantly lower rate of anastomotic leakage (P = 0.0231). For left sided colectomies end to end handsewn double layer anastomosis presented decreased odds (OR = 0.176). For sigmoid segmental resection end to end anastomotic techniques developed low rate of fistula formation (handsewn - OR = 0.593, stapled – OR = 0.685). Performing Dixon type surgical interventions, anastomotic techniques seemed without influence on anastomotic leak appearance (handsewn and stapled), although distal anastomoses were identified as significant risk factors for fistula formation (P = 0.0017). In order to perform subtotal colectomy, side to side sutures (handsewn and stapled) seemed safe choices for anastomotic procedure (P = 0.0073). Patient with anastomotic leakage suffered a significantly longer hospital stay (P = 0.0079), presented higher rate of surgical reintervention (P=0.0001), increased mortality (P=0.0001) and elevated hospitalization costs (P=0.0079).

Conclusion. Postoperative complications like anastomosis leakage significantly increase hospitalization period, necessity of surgical reintervention, mortality and financial costs. In order to avoid these unpleasant events, bowel anastomoses require standardization during surgery.


colorectal cancer, anastomotic leak, surgical anastomosis, safety, risk factors