Background: Laparoscopic rectal transection carries the risk of anastomotic leakage because of its technical difficulty and long staple line with an inadequate cutting angle. Our objective was to investigate the risk factors affecting anastomotic leakage after laparoscopic intracorporeal colorectal anastomosis with a double stapling technique. Study Design: Between November 2006 and September 2008, 270 consecutive patients underwent laparoscopic sigmoidectomy and anterior resection with double stapling technique for distal sigmoid and rectal cancer. Data were collected prospectively. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine risk factors for anastomotic leakage. Additionally, we evaluated the relationship between the number of stapler firings and clinical parameters. Results: Anastomotic leakage was noted in 17 (6.3%) of 270 patients. In univariate analyses, tumor location (p = 0.021), operation time (p = 0.025), number of stapler firings (p = 0.040), and diameter of the circular stapler (p = 0.022) were significant risk factors for anastomotic leakage. Multivariate analyses showed that middle or lower rectal cancer was an independent factor affecting anastomotic leakage (p = 0.013). The number of stapler firings increased significantly in men (p = 0.023), in patients with a tumor at a lower level (p = 0.034), and in those with longer operation times (p < 0.001). Conclusions: A reduction in the number of linear stapler firings is necessary to avoid anastomotic leakage after laparoscopic colorectal anastomosis with a double stapling technique. We recommend that a diverting ileostomy is mandatory in patients with middle and lower rectal cancer where multiple linear staplers were used.
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