A nonsurgical means of fecal diversion: the Zassi Bowel Management System

Dis Colon Rectum. 2007 Jul;50(7):1017-22. doi: 10.1007/s10350-006-0882-x.


Purpose: Patients with perineal burns and immobile hospitalized patients with severe excoriation from incontinence caused by excessive diarrhea pose difficult management problems, frequently requiring stoma formation. The Zassi Bowel Management System (Zassi Medical Evolutions, Fernandina Beach, Florida) multichannel intrarectal catheter was evaluated for its safety and its ability to divert feces away from perineal skin to allow wound and skin healing.

Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted on inpatients from the Burns and Geriatric Units. Patients with previous rectal disease were excluded. Perineal skin and wound healing was measured before and after tube insertion by using the perianal disease activity index score. Data regarding patient comfort, wound contamination, dressing changes, bed linen changes, and adverse events were collected. Proctoscopy was performed before and after tube insertion.

Results: Twenty-two tubes were inserted in 20 patients (7 perineal burns, 13 severe perineal excoriations). Mean perianal disease activity index scores reduced from 14 to 6.4 (P<0.0001) after tube insertion. Mean dressing changes reduced from 3.3 to 1.5 times per day (P<0.01), and mean bed linen changes in the incontinent patients reduced from 9.3 to 1.2 times per day (P<0.0001). Mean duration of rectal intubation was 14 days. Proctoscopy after tube removal was normal in all cases. One patient developed a superficial ulcer on the buttock from retention strapping.

Conclusions: The Zassi Bowel Management System tube allows diversion of feces away from the perineum for wound healing. It is safe, effective, and may help avoid stoma formation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Burns / complications*
  • Catheterization / instrumentation*
  • Defecation / physiology*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perineum / injuries*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Diseases / etiology
  • Rectal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Rectal Diseases / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome