Colonic anastomotic leak

Dr Ian Bickle et al.

Colonic anastomotic leaks occur in the early or late postoperative phase, in which the enteric anastomosis fails. This may be a small leak that can be managed conservatively or less commonly complete dehiscence requiring repeat surgery.


In one large surgical series, the incidence anastomotic leak after colorectal resection was 8.7% 1

Radiographic features

Fluoroscopic water soluble enema or CT with rectal contrast are the usual methods of radiological assessment.

Practical points

The use of barium is contraindicated because if there a leak and spill of barium into the peritoneal cavity it can cause a chronic chemical peritonitis.  

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Article Information

rID: 48522
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Cases and Figures

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    Case 1: anastomotic leak
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    Case 2: total colonic anastomosis breakdown
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    Case 3: Rectal anastomotic leak
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