Successful Management of a Positive Air Leak Test during Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery

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Background/Aims: Anastomotic leakage remains the most serious complications of colorectal surgery. To prevent colorectal anastomotic leakage (CAL), an air leak test (ALT) with intraoperative colonoscopy (IOCS) is performed to detect mechanically insufficient colorectal anastomoses. The approaches to an intraoperative anastomotic air leak (IOAL) have not been fully investigated. This study aimed to clarify the safe management of an IOAL in laparoscopic colorectal surgery. Methods: One hundred forty-eight consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic resection with double-stapling technique (DST) anastomosis for left-sided colorectal cancer between April 2015 and June 2016 were included and retrospectively reviewed. Results: Intraoperative anastomotic ALT yielded positive results in 7 patients. In all 7 patients, reanastomoses were performed, and diverting stomas were constructed to protect the anastomosis in 2 patients whose reanastomosis sites were close to the anus. Three of the revised DST anastomoses showed air leakage on the repeat ALT; these sites underwent suturing repair and were confirmed to be airtight. None of the patients with a positive intraoperative ALT had postoperative CAL. The overall CAL rate was 1.4%. Conclusions: Combination management using DST revision, direct suturing repair, and a diverting stoma is recommended for intraoperative repair of anastomotic defects detected by IOCS.

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