Purpose: This study was designed to quantify the temporary loop ileostomy-related morbidity in patients with colorectal cancer and contrast the morbidity rates after ileostomy closure before, during, and after the start of adjuvant therapy.
Methods: Between 1997 and 2004, 120 patients with colorectal carcinoma underwent colorectal resection and creation of a temporary loop ileostomy to protect the low anastomosis. Stoma-related complications and perioperative morbidity after ileostomy closure were assessed retrospectively by reviewing the medical records.
Results: Sixteen of the 120 patients (13.3 percent) suffered stoma-related complications, requiring early ileostomy closure in three. After ileostomy closure, anastomotic leakage of the ileoileostomy occurred in 3 of the 120 patients (2.5 percent), 2 of them died postoperatively (1.7 percent). The rate of minor complications (16.7 percent in all patients) was much higher in patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy or radiochemotherapy (25.5 percent) than in patients receiving no additional therapy (9.2 percent). In the former patients, there was a trend toward fewer complications when ileostomy closure was performed before (12.5 percent), rather than during (42.9 percent) or after (21.2 percent), the start of adjuvant therapy.
Conclusions: The morbidity following closure of a temporary loop ileostomy in colorectal cancer patients is much higher in patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy or radiochemotherapy. The morbidity, however, might possibly be lowered to the level of patients receiving no additional therapy if ileostomy closure is performed before the start of adjuvant therapy.