Continuing Evolution of the Pelvic Pouch Procedure
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The results of the pelvic pouch procedure were reviewed to assess the surgical complication rate and outcome of patients who had had the procedure performed with a stapled ileo-anal anastomosis with and without a defunctioning ileostomy. Between December 1982 and March 1992, 483 patients underwent a pelvic pouch (PP) procedure. Patients were divided into three groups: group I consisted of 325 patients (178 men and boys and 147 women and girls) who underwent a PP procedure with a handsewn ileoanal anastomosis (IAA) with a defunctioning loop ileostomy. In group II, there were 87 patients (47 men and boys and 40 women and girls) who had a stapled IAA with a defunctioning ileostomy. Group III patients consisted of 71 patients (43 men and boys and 28 women and girls) who had a stapled IAA with no covering ileostomy. Assessment was made of the IAA leak rate, the surgical complications, the reoperation rate, and functional outcome. Early surgical complications included 40 (12%) IAA leaks in group I patients compared with only six (7%) leaks in group II patients who had a stapled IAA (p < 0.05). In group III patients, who had a stapled IAA but no covering ileostomy, there were 13 leaks (18%). Eleven of these 13 leaks healed spontaneously with tube drainage; one patient remains with a rectal tube in place 6 weeks after operation, and only one patient has required a reoperation (defunctioning ileostomy). Functionally, all patients with a healed IAA after a leak have had an excellent result comparable to those without a leak. Patients who were male, older than age 40, on steroids, and had had a true one-stage PP procedure, had a greater risk of developing an IAA leak. In two patients, there was intraoperative difficulty, and one of these patients had an IAA leak after operation. Disease activity at the resection margin and patient weight did not affect the leak rate. Our results suggest that the IAA leak rate is significantly reduced in patients with a stapled IAA with an ileostomy compared with those with a handsewn IAA. Omission of the defunctioning ileostomy is associated with a higher IAA leak rate, but spontaneous healing occurs in almost all patients without impairment of functional results. In patients in whom the ileostomy is omitted, the IAA leak rate is greatest in male patients who have undergone a true one-stage PP procedure, are on steroids, and are older than age 40.
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