Long-term behavior and functional outcomes of ileal-pouch anal anastomosis in inflammatory bowel disease with changing phenotype

Surgery. 2024 Mar;175(3):765-775. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2023.07.033. Epub 2023 Oct 4.


Background: Ileal-pouch-anal anastomosis is the operation of choice after proctocolectomy for ulcerative colitis; some patients will develop Crohn's disease. We aim to determine long-term behavior and outcomes of inflammatory bowel disease-ileal-pouch-anal anastomosis after colectomy, where a specialist gastrointestinal pathologist re-evaluated the initial colectomy specimen.

Methods: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease-ileal-pouch-anal anastomosis were identified from a single-surgeon prospective database containing 1,165 patients accrued from 1991 to 2017 and invited to complete pouch-function and quality-of-life assessments. Medical records were used to obtain clinical outcomes and subjective functional assessments for those unable to be contacted. Data were compared between patients with and without histological assessment disagreement and subsequent inflammatory bowel disease behavior subgroups.

Results: For 138 patients included in the analysis, the median follow-up was 22.5 (range: 5-39) years. A total of 39.1% of patients had histologic diagnostic change after gastrointestinal pathologist review, and 19% and 39% developed Crohn's disease-like disease behavior at 10- and 20-year follow-ups. Pouch function and quality-of-life scores were similar across diagnostic change subgroups. Pouch failure was higher in Crohn's-like disease (31.1 vs 13.0%, P < .05). Intestinal continuity was maintained in 68.9% of Crohn's disease-like patients, 57.9% required biologics. Gastrointestinal pathologist review did not alter the time to new diagnosis (P = .419) or time to pouch failure (P = .320), mean: 11.0 and 11.41 years, respectively.

Conclusion: We describe equivocal patient-reported outcomes in patients with ileal-pouch-anal anastomosis and changing histologic and clinical diagnosis. Although pouch excision and biologic use rates are higher, many Crohn's disease-like patients maintain their pouch. Diagnostic change and pouch failure often occur >10 years after ileal-pouch-anal anastomosis creation. This supports the consideration of ileal-pouch-anal anastomosis after colectomy in carefully selected patients with inflammatory bowel disease, even those with ambiguous histology and the need for close long-term follow-up.

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / pathology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / surgery
  • Colonic Pouches* / adverse effects
  • Crohn Disease* / diagnosis
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / surgery
  • Proctocolectomy, Restorative* / adverse effects