Purpose: To investigate whether a collagen fleece kept in place by fibrin glue might seal off a colorectal anastomosis, provide reinforcement, and subsequently improve anastomotic healing.
Methods: Wistar rats underwent a 1-cm left-sided colonic resection followed by a 4-suture end-to-end anastomosis. They were then randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: no additional intervention (control, n = 20), the anastomosis covered with fibrin glue (fibrin glue, n = 20), the anastomosis covered with a collagen fleece, kept in place with fibrin glue (collagen fleece, n = 21). At either 3 or 7 days follow-up, anastomotic bursting pressure was measured and tissue was obtained for histology and collagen content assessment after which animals were sacrificed.
Results: Three rats in the control (15%), three in the fibrin glue (15%), and one in the collagen group (4.8%) died due to anastomotic complications (P = 0.497). Anastomotic bursting pressures were not significantly different between groups at 3 and 7 days follow-up (P = 0.659 and P = 0.427, respectively). However, bowel obstructions occurred significantly more often in the collagen group compared to the control group (14/21 vs. 3/20, P = 0.003). Collagen contents were not different between groups, but histology showed a more severe inflammation in the collagen group compared to the other groups at both 3 and 7 days follow-up.
Conclusions: A collagen fleece kept in place by fibrin glue does not improve healing of colonic anastomoses in rats. Moreover, this technique induces significantly more bowel obstructions in rats, warranting further study before being translated to a clinical setting.