Objective: The purpose of the study is to compare the results of ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) in patients in whom the anal mucosa is excised by handsewn techniques to those in whom the mucosa is preserved using stapling techniques.
Summary background data: Ileal pouch-anal anastomosis is the operation of choice for patients with chronic ulcerative colitis requiring proctocolectomy. Controversy exists over whether preserving the transitional mucosa of the anal canal improves outcomes.
Methods: Forty-one patients (23 men, 18 women) were randomized to either endorectal mucosectomy and handsewn IPAA or to double-stapled IPAA, which spared the anal transition zone. All patients were diverted for 2 to 3 months. Nine patients were excluded. Preoperative functional status was assessed by questionnaire and anal manometry. Twenty-four patients underwent more extensive physiologic evaluation, including scintigraphic anopouch angle studies and pudendel never terminal motor latency a mean of 6 months after surgery. Quality of life similarly was estimated before surgery and after surgery. Univariate analysis using Wilcoxon test was used to assess differences between groups.
Results: The two groups were identical demographically. Overall outcomes in both groups were good. Thirty-three percent of patients who underwent the handsewn technique and 35% of patients who underwent the double-stapled technique experienced a postoperative complication. Resting anal canal pressures were higher in the patients who underwent the stapled technique, but other physiologic parameters were similar between groups. Night-time fecal incontinence occurred less frequently in the stapled group but not significantly. The number of stools per 24 hours decreased from preoperative values in both groups. After IPAA, quality of life improved promptly in both groups.
Conclusions: Stapled IPAA, which preserves the mucosa of the anal transition zone, confers no apparent early advantage in terms of decreased stool frequency or fewer episodes of fecal incontinence compared to handsewn IPAA, which excises the mucosa. Higher resting pressures in the stapled group coupled with a trend toward less night-time incontinence, however, may portend better function in the stapled group over time. Both operations are safe and result in rapid and profound improvement in quality of life.