Esophagectomy is a highly invasive surgical procedure; however, anastomotic leakage is one of the major surgical complications that should be prevented. Institutions have their own inherited or specialized anastomosis methods. The superior anastomosis procedure remains unknown despite the many studies to determine the optimal method. The present study enrolled 341 patients who underwent esophagectomy at Keio University Hospital, Tokyo, Japan, between January 2009 and January 2019. The anastomosis method was changed from circular stapled anastomosis to hand-sewn anastomosis in February 2014 to reduce the risk of anastomotic leakage. We retrospectively compared short-term results (anastomotic leakage and stricture) between hand-sewn and circular stapled anastomoses. Analysis of heterogeneity after propensity score matching between the 107 patients in the hand-sewn anastomosis group and 107 patients in the circular stapled anastomosis group revealed almost equal distributions. The incidence rate of anastomotic leakage was significantly lower in the hand-sewn anastomosis group than in the circular stapled anastomosis group (9 vs. 20%, hazard ratio: 2.521; 95% confidence interval: 1.112–5.716; P = 0.027). No significant difference was found in the incidence of anastomotic stricture (16 vs. 18%, P = 0.844). Furthermore, no significant difference was found in the incidence of anastomotic leakage in any of the tumor locations between the two anastomosis procedures. For esophagogastric anastomosis in the neck after esophagectomy, hand-sewn anastomosis is superior to circular stapled anastomosis with regard to reducing the risk of anastomotic leakage.
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