Purpose: This study assesses the outcome of a standardized operation performed by two surgeons for severe idiopathic slow transit constipation that was resistant to laxative treatment.
Methods: Fifty-nine consecutive patients, 4 men and 55 women, with a mean age of 42.3 years, underwent colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis. Slow colonic transit was demonstrated in each case. Fifty-two patients were available for follow-up, with median time to follow-up being 42 (range, 3-81) months.
Results: Median bowel frequency was 4 per 24 hours. Sixty-nine percent had four or less bowel movements daily. Ten percent used antidiarrheal medication regularly. One patient had a stoma for recurrent severe constipation. Mean continence score was 1.8 (on a scale of 0-20); six patients were incontinent, and four of these six had normal preoperative anal manometry. Fourteen patients (27 percent) had difficulty with rectal evacuation. Preoperative defecating proctography was a poor predictor of postoperative evacuation difficulties. Twenty-seven patients (52 percent) had persisting abdominal pain, but there was a significant improvement in the degree of pain (P <0.00001). Forty-seven patients (90 percent) were satisfied with the outcome of the operation (and would elect to have it done again). Dissatisfied patients had recurrent constipation or diarrhea and incontinence.
Conclusion: Colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis produces a satisfactory functional outcome in the majority of patients undergoing surgery for severe constipation with proven slow colonic transit.