Background: Significant surgical complications are common in patients with ulcerative colitis who undergo proctocolectomy. We assessed the effects of these complications on the functional outcomes of such patients.
Materials and methods: The medical records of 47 consecutive patients who underwent ileoanal anastomosis (IAA; J-pouch IAA, n = 37; straight IAA [SIAA], n = 10) for ulcerative colitis between 1985 and 2004 at a median age of 13.7 years (range, 5.5-19.3 years) were reviewed. Anastomotic leakage and stenosis, fistula, intestinal obstruction (IO), wound complications, pouchitis/enterocolitis (no/once/recurrent), permanent ileostomy, and ultimate diagnosis of Crohn's disease were recorded and correlated with the functional outcome measures of stooling frequency (6 months, 2 years, present), present incidence of soiling, and continence score (range, 0-12).
Results: The median postoperative follow-up period was 10 years (range, 1-21 years). Twenty-six (55%) of the 47 patients had surgical complications (J-pouch IAA, 21/37 [57%]; SIAA, 5/10 [50%]; P = nonsignificant). These complications specifically included stenosis of IAA in 4 (9%) patients (SIAA 2), pelvic abscess/sepsis in 4 (9%) patients, late fistula in 4 (9%) patients (SIAA 1), early IO in 8 (23%) patients (SIAA 1), late IO in 14 (27%) patients (SIAA 3), J-pouch prolapse in 1 patient, and wound complications in 7 (15%) patients (SIAA 1). Twenty-three (49%) patients had pouchitis, which recurred in 13 (28%). Ileoanal anastomosis stenosis, IO, J-pouch prolapse, wound complications, and pouchitis did not worsen functional outcomes. In 4 patients with pelvic sepsis, early stooling frequency and the continence score were lower than those in the rest of the patients (P < .05). Crohn's disease was ultimately diagnosed in 3 (6%) patients (SIAA 1), 2 of whom (SIAA 1) had permanent ileostomy formation.
Conclusions: Significant surgical complications are common after IAA. Complications do not generally worsen functional outcomes, except in those patients with septic complications or the ultimate diagnosis of Crohn's disease.