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The Anatomical and Surgical Consequences of Right Colectomy for Cancer

Spasojevic, Milan M.D.1; Stimec, Bojan V. M.D., Ph.D.2; Gronvold, Lars Bergene M.D.1; Nesgaard, Jens-Marius M.D.1; Edwin, Bjorn M.D., Ph.D.3; Ignjatovic, Dejan M.D., Ph.D.1,4

Diseases of the Colon & Rectum:
doi: 10.1097/DCR.0b013e318232116b
Original Contribution

BACKGROUND: Current practice when performing right colectomy for cancer is to divide the feeding vessels for the right colon on the right side of the superior mesenteric vein.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to show that arterial stumps can be visualized through an early postoperative CT and analyze their anatomical and surgical characteristics.

DESIGN: This study presents a retrospective review of prospective data.

SETTINGS: The study was conducted at the Department of Surgery, Vestfold Hospital, Tonsberg, Norway.

PATIENTS: Patients with leakage after a right colectomy for cancer (2003–2011) were identified through a local prospective complication registry (FileMaker Pro 9.0v3 software).

INTERVENTIONS: Both preoperative and postoperative CTs were retrieved, reanalyzed, and 3-dimensionally reconstructed (Osirix v.3.0.2./Mimics v.13.1.). Patients without postoperative CTs were excluded.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcomes measured were length, caliber of presumed and actual arterial stumps, and their position relative to the superior mesenteric vein.

RESULTS: Eighteen patients, median age 69 (10 men) were included. All patients had postoperative CTs, and 15 patients had preoperative CTs. Median time from operation to postoperative CT was 5 days. The ileocolic artery was found in 14 (11 CT pairs) patients, and the right colic artery was found in 5 (4 pairs) patients. Actual stump lengths were 28.0 mm (SD 9.3) and 37.3 mm (SD 14.9). A significant statistical difference between presumed and actual ileocolic artery stump lengths was found (P = .002). Posterior crossing to the superior mesenteric vein was noticed in 8 of 14 ileocolic arteries and in 3 of 5 right colic arteries. There was no statistical difference in mean caliber for the preoperative and postoperative right colic artery (P = .505) and ileocolic artery (P = .474).

LIMITATIONS: Difficulties when interpreting the postoperative images, due to intra-abdominal effusion, staples, edema, and altered syntopy of blood vessels, were overcome through comparison with preoperative CTs.

CONCLUSION: An early postoperative CT can show arterial stumps after right colectomy for cancer. These stumps appear to be significantly longer than presumed; implying a significant improvement potential when specimen size is concerned.

Author Information

1 Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Vestfold Hospital, Tonsberg, Norway

2 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Cellular Physiology and Metabolism, Anatomy Sector, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

3 Interventional Centre, Gastrointestinal and Pediatric Surgery, Oslo University Hospital-Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway

4 Akershus University Hospital, University of Oslo, Department of Digestive Surgery, Oslo, Norway

Funding/Support: This work was supported by the Vestfold Hospital Trust.

Financial Disclosures: None reported.

Presented at the meeting of the Norwegian Surgical Society, Oslo, Norway, October 25 to 29, 2010.

Correspondence: D. Ignjatovic, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Vestfold Hospital, Post Box 2168, 3103 Tonsberg, Norway. E-mail:

© The ASCRS 2011