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Quick and simple: psoas density measurement is an independent predictor of anastomotic leak and other complications after colorectal resection

Herrod, Philip J.J.; Boyd-Carson, Hannah; Doleman, Brett; Trotter, John; Schlichtemeier, Steve; Sathanapally, Ganesh; Somerville, Joshua; Williams, John P.; Lund, Jonathan N.


Philip J.J. Herrod

Hannah Boyd-Carson

Brett Doleman

John Trotter

Steve Schlichtemeier

Ganesh Sathanapally

Joshua Somerville

Clinical Associate Professor


Purpose: Radiologically-defined sarcopenia has been shown to predict negative outcomes after cancer surgery, however radiological assessment of sarcopenia often requires additional software and standardisation against anthropomorphic data. Measuring psoas density using hospital Picture Archiving and Communication Systems, universally available in the UK, may have advantages over methods requiring the use of additional specialist and often costly software. This study aimed to assess the association between radiologically-defined sarcopenia measured by psoas density and postoperative outcome in patients having a colorectal cancer resection
Methods: All patients having a resection for colorectal cancer, discussed at the colorectal multi-disciplinary team in one institution between 1/1/15 and 31/12/15, were retrospectively identified. Mean psoas density at the level of the L3 vertebra were analysed from preoperative CT scans to define sarcopenia. Postoperative complications and mortality were recorded.
Results: One hundred and sixty-nine patients had a colorectal resection for cancer and 140 of these had a primary anastomosis. Ninety-day mortality and 1-year mortality was 1.1% and 7.1% respectively. Eighteen(10.7%) patients suffered a Clavien-Dindo(CD) grade 3 or 4 complication of which 6(33%) were anastomotic leaks. In the whole cohort, sarcopenia was associated with an increased risk of CD3/4 complication(adjusted OR 6.33(1.65-24.23) p= 0.007). In those who had an anastomosis, sarcopenia was associated with an increased risk of anastomotic leak (adjusted OR 14.37(1.37-150.04) p=0.026).
Conclusions: A quick and easy radiological assessment of sarcopenia using psoas density on standard hospital PACS is associated with a 6-fold increased risk of major post-operative complication and a 14-fold increase in anastomotic leak.


Herrod, P. J., Boyd-Carson, H., Doleman, B., Trotter, J., Schlichtemeier, S., Sathanapally, G., …Lund, J. N. (2019). Quick and simple: psoas density measurement is an independent predictor of anastomotic leak and other complications after colorectal resection. Techniques in Coloproctology, 23(2), 129–134.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 11, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 21, 2019
Publication Date 2019-02
Deposit Date Jan 14, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 25, 2019
Journal Techniques in Coloproctology
Print ISSN 1123-6337
Electronic ISSN 1128-045X
Publisher Springer Nature
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 2
Pages 129–134
Keywords Surgery; Gastroenterology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 7 September 2018; Accepted: 17 January 2019; First Online: 21 February 2019; : ; : No author has a conflict of interest to declare.; : This study was registered as a service evaluation with the hospital cancer audit office; : This was a retrospective service evaluation, thus consent was not required


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