A T Drain Approach to Anastomotic Leaks: Another Important Tool in the General Surgeon's Armamentarium

Yaron Rudnicki, Ian White, Barak Benjamin, Lauren Lahav, Baruch Shpitz, Shmuel Avital

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Following an intestinal anastomotic leak, stoma creation may be the safest approach. However, this method may be challenging and cause significant morbidity. In selected cases, a T drain approach can be beneficial and a stoma can be avoided. OBJECTIVES: To present one group's experience with a T drain approach for anastomotic leaks. METHODS: Data on patients who underwent emergent re-laparotomy following gastrointestinal anastomotic leaks were retrieved retrospectively and assessed with a new intra-operative leak severity score. RESULTS: Of 1684 gastrointestinal surgeries performed from 2014 to 2018, 41 (2.4%) cases of anastomotic leaks were taken for re-laparotomy. Cases included different sites and etiologies. Twelve patients were treated with a T-tube drain inserted through the leak site, 18 had a stoma taken out, 6 re-anastomosis, 4 were treated with an Endosponge, and one primary repair with a proximal ileostomy was conducted. T drain approach was successful in 11 of 12 patients (92%) with full recovery. One patient did not improve and underwent reoperation with resection and re-anastomosis. A severity score of anastomotic integrity is provided to help surgeons in decision making. CONCLUSIONS: A T drain approach can be an optimal solution in selected cases following an intestinal anastomotic leak. When the leak is limited, the remaining anastomosis is intact and the abdominal environment allows it, a T drain can be used and a stoma can be avoided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-440
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume22
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020

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