Journal List > J Korean Gastric Cancer Assoc > v.4(2) > 1036938

Jung and Park: Clinical Evaluation and Prevention of Complications of Esophagojejunal Anastomotic Site after Total Gastrectomy



Esophagojejunal anastomotic complications after a total gastrectomy include leakage, stenosis, bleeding, and abscess formation. Especially, the mortality rate for esophagojejunal anastomotic leakage is 80%. Although these complications hare been reduced by the usage of the EEA stapler, they are still serious and depend on various factors: the surgeon's experience, the stage of disease, the extent of surgical intervention, the method of operation, and the patient. Some local factors, such as vascularization of the graft, traction on the anastomosis suture line, and local infections, have been implicated as contributing to these complications.

Materials and Methods

During the period 1995~2003, of the 850 gastrectomies for gastric carcinomas, 171 were intra-abdominal total gastrectomies. All of these 171 operations were performed by one surgeon using a routine D2 lymph-node dissection and a 25-mm EEA stapler on an antecolic end-to-side esophagojejunostomy. In the 77 cases a seromuscular reinforced suture at the esophagojejunostomy site was performed, and in 94 cases, a whole layer reinforced suture with absorbible materials was used. We evaluated the incidence of complications according to age, sex, stage of patients, and combined resection. Also, we compared the incidences of complications for seromuscular and whole layer reinforced sutures.


The complications are major leaks (2.9%), minor leaks (3.5%), stenosis, bleeding (1.8%), and abscess formation (1.8%). In the five cases of major leaks, there were four mortalities with operative methods. The other patients with stenosis, bleeding, and abscess formation were treated conservatively with success. The incidences of complications were not related with age, sex, stages, and combined resection. The incidences of complications for the whole layer reinforced suture group (2.9%) were less than those for the seromuscular reinforced group (8.8%, P=0.04).


The most serious complication of esophagojejunal anastomosis is major leakage with an 80% mortality. The other complications are stenosis, bleeding, and abscess formation, for which no mortalities occurred during this study. Whole layer suture of the esophagojejunal anastomotic site is an important method for preventing leakage.

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