Background: Acute and chronic complications in esophago-colonic anastomosis have a significant impact in the postoperative course of patients with colonic transposition. Evidence about their management is poor and surgical treatment is mostly based on tailored approaches, so each new experience could be useful to improve knowledge about this peculiar condition. We report a unique case of an esophago-colonic resection and re-anastomosis without sternal approximation after recurrent anastomosis failure and strictures.

Case presentation: A 69-year-old woman was referred to our hospital for worsening dysphagia. The patient had undergone esophago-gastrectomy with right colon interposition 12 years prior due to caustic ingestion. The esophago-colonic anastomosis was initially complicated by an enterocutaneous fistula, which was treated with anastomosis resection and left colon transposition. This was then further complicated by dehiscence and sternal infection treated with resection of the distal portion of the sternum and a new colo-jejunal anastomosis. Finally, a chronic anastomotic stricture occurred, refractory to endoscopic dilatation and prothesis positioning. We planned a new colonic-esophageal resection and re-anastomosis. The main technical challenges were addressing the adhesions resulting from previous surgery and mobilizing an adequate length of the intestinal tract to allow conduit continuity restoration.

Blood supply was assessed through Indocyanine Green Fluorescence. To avoid compression of the digestive conduit sternal margins were not re-approximated, and the transposed tube was covered and protected using both pectoralis major muscles flap.

We decided to avoid the use of any prosthetic material to reduce the risk of infection. The patient was able to resume oral food intake on the 12th day postoperatively after a barium swallowing test showed an adequate conduit caliber. Conclusion: Esophago-colonic anastomosis complications represent a life-threatening condition. Therefore, reports and sharing of knowledge are important to improve expertise in management of these conditions.

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