Purpose: Long-term bowel function after right hemicolectomy (RHC), extended right hemicolectomy (ERHC), left hemicolectomy (LHC), sigmoid colectomy (SC), and anterior resection (AR) was evaluated.
Method: Three hundred fifteen patients (52.3 percent) replied to a questionnaire on stool frequency, fecal continence, and defecation problems. All patients had undergone surgery at least one year before questionnaire was sent to them. Patients with anastomotic leaks and recurrences were excluded.
Results: Stool frequency was one to two bowel movements per day in 78 percent of patients after RHC, 75 percent after ERHC, 57.6 percent after LHC, 64.3 percent after SC, and only 44.8 percent after AR (P = 0.01). Continence affected lifestyle in 32 percent of patients after AR, but affected only up to 11.5 percent of patients who had had more proximal resections (P = 0.001). Defecation problems occurred in less than 15.4 percent after RHC, ERHC, and LHC but were encountered more frequently after SC (25 percent) and AR (28.4 percent; P = 0.009).
Conclusions: Problems with postoperative bowel function were appreciably more common after SC and AR.