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Anastomotic leakage after rectal cancer surgery raises the problem of the timing of diverting stoma reversal.The purpose of this study was to assess whether stoma reversal can be safely performed at 6 months after laparoscopic sphincter-saving surgery for rectal cancer with total mesorectal excision in patients with persistent asymptomatic anastomotic leakage.This was a retrospective analysis of a prospective database.The study was conducted at a tertiary colorectal surgery referral center.All of the patients with anastomotic leakage were treated conservatively after sphincter-saving laparoscopic total mesorectal excision for rectal cancer.The main study measure was postoperative morbidity.A total of 110 (26%) of 429 patients who presented with anastomotic leakage and were treated conservatively were diagnosed only on CT scan (60 symptomatic (14%) and 50 asymptomatic (12%)). During follow up, 82 (75%) of 110 anastomotic leakages healed spontaneously after a mean delay of 16 ± 6 weeks (range, 4–30 weeks). Among these patients, 7 (9%) of 82 developed postoperative symptomatic pelvic sepsis after stoma reversal. Among the 28 patients remaining, 3 died during follow-up. The remaining 25 patients (23%) presented with persistent asymptomatic anastomotic leakage with chronic sinus >6 months after rectal surgery. Stoma reversal was performed in 19 asymptomatic patients, but 3 (16%) of 19 developed postoperative symptomatic pelvic sepsis after stoma reversal (3/19 vs 7/82 patients; p = 0.217), requiring a redo surgery with transanal colonic pull-through and delayed coloanal anastomosis (n = 2) or standard coloanal anastomosis (n = 1). Regarding the 6 final patients, abdominal redo surgery was performed because of either symptoms or anastomotic leakage with a large presacral cavity.This study was limited by its small sample size.In the great majority of patients with persistent anastomotic leakage at 6 months after total mesorectal excision, stoma reversal can be safely performed.