Background/purpose: The choice of ileo-anal reconstruction method in children undergoing proctocolectomy remains controversial. Although in adults ileo-anal pouch reconstruction has gained overall acceptance, many paediatric surgeons still advocate straight ileo-anal pull-through. The aim of this study was to assess the outcome and long-term functional results in children who have undergone proctocolectomy and ileo-anal anastomosis (IAA) with a J-pouch.
Methods: Medical records of 40 consecutive children who had proctocolectomy and J-pouch IAA between 1991 and 1999 were reviewed for early and late complications, fecal frequency, day- and night-time continence, and pouchitis. The indication for surgery was ulcerative colitis (UC) in 29 (median age at operation, 13 years; range, 9 to 16), Hirschsprung's disease (HD) in 10 (median age at operation, 1.5 years; range, 1 month to 5 years), and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) in 1 (age at operation, 6 years). Six of the HD patients had primary pull-through for total colonic aganglionosis and 4 a redo operation for failed primary reconstruction of long segment aganglionosis.
Results: There were no fatalities. Early complications (wound infection, early bowel obstruction, prolonged fever) occurred in 12 of 29 (41%) and late complications (bowel obstruction 9, pouch fistula 2) in 11 of 29 (38%) of the UC patients. Overall, 16 of 29 (53%) of the UC patients had complications. All patients with early complications were on systemic steroids at the time of the operation. Pouchitis occurred in 30% of the patients. None of the pouches had to be removed. At last follow-up all patients were continent during the day, 2 patients used protective pads during the night because of occasional staining. The median bowel frequency per 24 hours was 4 (range, 2 to 7); only 2 patients (7%) had to empty their bowel during the night. One (10%) of the HD patients had wound infection, and 3 had episodes of postoperative enterocolitis. Pouchitis-type symptoms have not occurred in HD patients. The median bowel frequency for 24 hours was 3 (range, 2 to 5). None of the HD patients needs to evacuate during the night. The 4 HD patients who are older than 3 years of age are continent.
Conclusions: J-pouch IAA is a feasible method of reconstruction in children requiring proctocolectomy. Major complication are common but occur mainly in immunosuppressed patients suffering from UC. Despite high incidence of complications, long-term functional results in terms of continence and bowel frequency are excellent and ensure good quality of life in the great majority of patients.
Copyright 2002 by W.B. Saunders Company.