Aim: The purpose of the study was to determine the risk of postoperative complications and the functional outcome after a hand-sewn ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) for ulcerative colitis using a single J-shaped pouch design.
Methods: Preoperative function, operative morbidity and long-term functional outcome were assessed prospectively in 1310 patients who underwent IPAA between 1981 and 1994 for ulcerative colitis.
Results: Three patients died after operation. Postoperative pelvic sepsis rates decreased from 7 per cent in 1981-1985 to 3 per cent in 1991-1994 (P = 0.02). After mean follow-up of 6.5 (range 2-15) years, the mean number of stools was 5 per day and 1 per night. Frequent daytime and nighttime incontinence occurred in 7 and 12 per cent of patients respectively, and did not change over a 10-year period. The cumulative probability of suffering at least one episode of 'clinical' pouchitis was 18 and 48 per cent at 1 and 10 years and the cumulative probability of pouch failure at 1 and 10 years was 2 and 9 per cent respectively.
Conclusion: These results indicate that increased experience decreases the risk of pouch-related complications and that with time the functional results remain stable, but the failure rate increases.