Outcome After Redo Surgery for Complicated Colorectal and Coloanal Anastomosis: A Systematic Review

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When a colorectal or coloanal anastomosis fails because of persistent leakage or stenosis, or the anastomosis has to be resected for recurrent cancer, constructing a new anastomosis might be an option in selected patients. This is a rare and complex type of redo surgery.


The aim of this review was to evaluate the current literature on redo anastomosis for complicated colorectal or coloanal anastomosis.


A systematic literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, the PROSPERO register, clinicaltrials.gov, and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform database was performed.


Two reviewers independently screened the available literature. All studies reporting on redo surgery and aiming at reconstruction of a prior low colorectal or coloanal anastomosis for any indication were included.


Primary outcome was successful restoration of continuity. Secondary outcomes were postoperative morbidity, pelvic sepsis, incontinence, and mortality.


Nine studies were included, comprising 291 patients, of whom 76% had index surgery for colorectal cancer. Pooled proportions showed an overall success rate of 79% (95% CI, 69–86), with a pooled incidence of major postoperative morbidity of 16% (95% CI, 10–24). The pooled pelvic sepsis rate was 16% (95% CI, 9–27), and the pooled surgical reintervention and readmission rates were 11% (95% CI, 8–17) and 7% (95% CI, 3–15). Five studies reported on incontinence, with a pooled proportion of 17% (95% CI, 10–26).


The limitations of this review are the lack of randomized controlled trials and high-quality studies, and the small sample sizes and heterogeneous patient populations in the included studies.


Redo surgery is a valuable treatment option for the complicated colorectal or coloanal anastomosis with 79% successful restoration of bowel continuity in the published literature from experienced tertiary centers.

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