An evaluation of short-term outcomes after reoperations for anastomotic leakage in colon cancer patients

A. K. Warps, J. W.T. Dekker, P. J. Tanis, R. A.E.M. Tollenaar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)



Scarce data are available on differences among index colectomies for colon cancer regarding reoperation for anastomotic leakage (AL) and clinical consequences. Therefore, this nationwide observational study aimed to evaluate reoperations for AL after colon cancer surgery and short-term postoperative outcomes for the different index colectomies. 


Patients who underwent resection with anastomosis for a first primary colon carcinoma between 2013 and 2019 and were registered in the Dutch ColoRectal Audit were included. Primary outcomes were mortality, ICU admission, and stoma creation. 


Among 39,565 patients, the overall AL rate was 4.8% and ranged between 4.0% (right hemicolectomy) and 15.4% (subtotal colectomy). AL was predominantly managed with reoperation, ranging from 81.2% after transversectomy to 92.4% after sigmoid resection (p < 0.001). Median time to reoperation differed significantly between index colectomies (range 4–8 days, p < 0.001), with longer and comparable intervals for non-surgical reinterventions (range 13–18 days, p = 0.747). After reoperation, the highest mortality rates were observed for index transversectomy (15.4%) and right hemicolectomy (14.4%) and lowest for index sigmoid resection (5.6%) and subtotal colectomy (5.9%) (p < 0.001). Reoperation with stoma construction was associated with a higher mortality risk than without stoma construction after index right hemicolectomy (17.7% vs. 8.5%, p = 0.001). ICU admission rate was 62.6% overall (range 56.7–69.2%), and stoma construction rate ranged between 65.5% (right hemicolectomy) and 93.0% (sigmoid resection). 


Significant differences in AL rate, reoperation rate, time to reoperation, postoperative mortality after reoperation, and stoma construction for AL were found among the different index colectomies for colon cancer, with relevance for patient counseling and perioperative management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Colorectal Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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