One hundred gastric cancer patients who underwent total gastrectomy and Roux-en-Y, end-to-side esophagojejunostomy by using stapling devices were analyzed with regard to their operative results. The median time required for the anastomosis was 18 minutes (range of 15 to 45 minutes). A cartridge of 25 mm in diameter was preferred (85% of 25 mm vs. 15% of 28 mm). In 92 patients, procedures were uneventful. Intraoperative problems happened in 8 patients: Two misfirings of stapler due to mechanical problems, in 6 patients, doughnut tissues were incomplete. Mechanical problems were solved by a change of the stapler and for incomplete doughnut tissues, anastomosis was simply reinforced (2 cases) or reanastomosed with restaplings (4 cases). Anastomotic leakage occurred in 2 patients but it was seen only in radiological studies. During the follow up period, two cases of anastomotic stricture were found and they were treated with endoscopic dilatations. There was no operative mortality nor other complication. In addition, routine use of the Levin tube after total gastrectomy was appraised by comparing postoperative courses. Twenty patients were randomly divided into two groups; for 10 patients the Levin tube was removed at the recovery room and for another 10 patients the Levin tube was indwelled until peristalsis returned. Timing of the tube removal did not affect the duration of the hospital stay and starting day of oral intake. We think that the stapler, when properly used, can facilitate the esophagojejunostomy safely and routine use of the Levin tube after total gastrectomy may be unnecessary.
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