Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Anastomotic dehiscence remains a major complication in surgery of the large bowel, and studies on the healing sequence of experimental anastomoses are necessary to define underlying mechanisms and find ways to improve surgical outcome, particularly in high-risk situations. For the quantitative description of anastomotic repair, both mechanical and biochemical parameters are employed, each with their own limitations. Mechanical parameters, either bursting pressure or breaking strength, only reflect growing anastomotic strength as long as disruption occurs within the anastomotic area, which is less than one week after surgery for the bursting pressure and probably up to two weeks for the breaking strength. The biochemical description of anastomotic repair has been limited to the behavior of collagen, as represented by its rather unique constituent amino acid hydroxyproline. Conclusions based on collagen concentrations—per unit weight—should be considered with caution since they may change as a consequence of changes in noncollagenous substances. In this respect, collagen content, per unit length, is probably a better parameter to describe anastomotic collagen levels. Few investigations have addressed the quality of collagen (e.g.,crosslinking or type). Since, at this time, no distinct correlations have been demonstrated between development of mechanical strength or occurrence of leakage and collagen levels in the healing anastomosis, attention should not be restricted to a description of the quantity of collagen present: the quality of anastomotic collagen should be investigated, perhaps even more so.
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