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Characterization of materials eliciting foreign body reaction in stapled human gastrointestinal anastomoses. BJS 2008; 95: 1044-1050.

Published: 18th June 2008

Authors: C. B. B. Lim, R. D. Goldin, A. Darzi, G. B. Hanna


Staples are made of titanium, which elicits minimal tissue reaction. The authors have encountered foreign body reaction associated with stapled human gastrointestinal anastomoses, although the literature has no reports of this. The aim of this study was to identify the refractile foreign materials causing this reaction.


Histological sections were taken from 14 gastrointestinal specimens from patients with a history of a stapled anastomosis within the specimen excised. These were reviewed by light and polarization microscopy. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X‐ray analysis were carried out on these sections, staples and stapler cartridges used for gastrointestinal surgery.


Foreign bodies rich in fluorine were found in three patients, and those rich in carbon in 12. Other elements identified included oxygen, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, aluminium and silicon. One specimen was found to contain titanium with no surrounding foreign body reaction. Stapler cartridges contained carbon, oxygen, fluorine, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, aluminium, silicon and traces of titanium. Staples were composed of pure titanium with some fibrous material on the surface containing elements found in stapler cartridges.


The presence of foreign body reaction was confirmed in stapled human gastrointestinal anastomoses. The source of refractile materials eliciting this reaction was the stapler cartridges. Copyright © 2008 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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