Background Routine creation of a diverting stoma (DS) in every patient who undergoes low anterior resection (LAR) remains controversial. We aimed to investigate the effect of DS on symptomatic anastomotic leakage (AL) after LAR. Study Design Patients with rectal cancer within 10 cm from the anal verge were eligible for this prospective, multicenter, cohort study (UMIN-CTR, number 000004017). Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to compare groups of patients with and without DS. Results One thousand fourteen consecutive patients were registered, of whom 936 patients who underwent LAR were analyzed. Before PSM, the overall rate of symptomatic AL was 13.2% (52 of 394) in patients with DS vs 12.7% (69 of 542) in cases without DS (p = 0.84). Symptomatic AL requiring re-laparotomy occurred in 4.7% (44 of 936) of all patients, occurring in 1.0% (4 of 394) of patients with DS vs 7.4% (40 of 542) of patients without DS (p < 0.001). After PSM, the 2 groups were nearly balanced, and the incidence rates of symptomatic AL in patients with and without DS were 10.9% and 15.8% (p = 0.26). The incidences of AL requiring re-laparotomy in patients with and without DS were 0.6% and 9.1% (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis identified male sex (p < 0.001; odds ratio [OR] 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8 to 5.7) and tumor size (p < 0.001; OR 1.2; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.4) as independent risk factors of symptomatic AL. Conclusions Diverting stoma did not have a significant relationship with symptomatic AL before and after PSM. However, DS does seem to mitigate the consequences of leakage, reducing the need for urgent abdominal reoperation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes