Background: The risk factors and incidence of anastomotic leak following colorectal surgery are well reported in the literature. However, the management of the multiple clinical scenarios that may be encountered has not been standardized. Methods: The medical literature from 1973 to 2007 was reviewed using PubMed for papers relating to anastomotic leaks and abdominal abscess, with a specific emphasis on predisposing factors, prevention strategies, and treatment approaches. A six-round modified Delphi research method was utilized to find consensus among a group of expert colorectal surgeons and interventional radiologists regarding standardized management algorithms for anastomotic leaks. Results: Management scenarios were divided into those for intraperitoneal anastomoses, extraperitoneal (low pelvic) anastomoses, and anastomoses with proximal diverting stomas. Management options were then based on the clinical presentation and radiographic findings and organized into three interconnected algorithms. Conclusions: This process was a useful first step toward establishing guidelines for the management of anastomotic leak.
ASJC Scopus subject areas