Anterior resection and primary anastomosis following high dose preoperative irradiation for adenocarcinoma of the recto‐sigmoid

Kenneth R. Stevens, William S. Fletcher, Clifford V. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


Preoperative irradiation for adenocarcinoma of the rectum and sigmoid does not always limit the surgery to an abdominoperineal resection. From 1960 to 1976 anterior resection and primary anastomosis of the bowel has been performed in 13 patients with adenocarcinoma of the rectum and sigmoid whose tumor had been irradiated with 5000 rads with small pelvic fields. The inferior surgical resection line was within or very near the edge of the radiation field in 10 patients. In no instance was the superior resection line irradiated. Compared to a group of 79 patients treated with anterior resection only, the pre‐operatively irradiated patients had lower incidence of pelvic and anastomotic tumor recurrence, but a higher incidence of anastomotic leak and subsequent adhesions and intestinal obstruction. We stress that if irradiated rectum is considered for forming the anastomosis, a temporary “protective colostomy” should be strongly considered at the time of the surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2065-2071
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1978


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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