Restorative proctocolectomy and ileal pouch-anal anastomosis for familial adenomatous polyposis revisited

Fam Cancer. 2006;5(3):241-60; discussion 261-2. doi: 10.1007/s10689-005-5672-4.


Since restorative proctocolectomy (RPC) with ileal-pouch anal anastomosis (IPAA) removes the entire diseased mucosa, it has become firmly established as the standard operative procedure of choice for familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Many technical controversies still persist, such as mesenteric lengthening techniques, close rectal wall proctectomy, endoanal mucosectomy vs. double stapled anastomosis, loop ileostomy omission and a laparoscopic approach. Despite the complexity of the operation, IPAA is safe (mortality: 0.5-1%), it carries an acceptable risk of non-life-threatening complications (10-25%), and it achieves good long-term functional outcome with excellent patient satisfaction (over 95%). In contrast to the high incidence in patients operated for ulcerative colitis (UC) (15-20%), the occurrence of pouchitis after IPAA seems to be rare in FAP patients (0-11%). Even after IPAA, FAP patients are still at risk of developing adenomas (and occasional adenocarcinomas), either in the anal canal (10-31%) or in the ileal pouch itself (8-62%), thus requiring lifelong endoscopic monitoring. IPAA operation does not jeopardise pregnancy and childbirth, but it does impair female fecundity and has a low risk of impairment of erection and ejaculation in young males. The latter can almost completely be avoided by a careful "close rectal wall" proctectomy technique. Some argue that low risk patients (e.g. <5 rectal polyps) can be identified where ileorectal anastomosis (IRA) might be reasonable. We feel that the risk of rectal cancer after IRA means that IPAA should be recommended for the vast majority of FAP patients. We accept that in some very selected cases, based on clinical and genetics data (and perhaps influenced by patient choice regarding female fecundity), a stepwise surgical strategy with a primary IPA followed at a later age by a secondary proctectomy with IPAA could be proposed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / surgery*
  • Anal Canal / surgery*
  • Anastomosis, Surgical*
  • Humans
  • Ileum / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Pouchitis*
  • Proctocolectomy, Restorative*
  • Quality of Life