Similar outcome after colonic pouch and side-to-end anastomosis in low anterior resection for rectal cancer: a prospective randomized trial

Mikael Machado, Jonas Nygren, Sven Goldman, Olle Ljungqvist
Annals of Surgery 2003, 238 (2): 214-20

OBJECTIVES: To compare a colonic J-pouch or a side-to-end anastomosis after low-anterior resection for rectal cancer with regard to functional and surgical outcome.

SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: A complication after restorative rectal surgery with a straight anastomosis is low-anterior resection syndrome with a postoperatively deteriorated anorectal function. The colonic J-reservoir is sometimes used with the purpose of reducing these symptoms. An alternative method is to use a simple side-to-end anastomosis.

METHODS: One-hundred patients with rectal cancer undergoing total mesorectal excision and colo-anal anastomosis were randomized to receive either a colonic pouch or a side-to-end anastomosis using the descending colon. Surgical results and complications were recorded. Patients were followed with a functional evaluation at 6 and 12 months postoperatively.

RESULTS: Fifty patients were randomized to each group. Patient characteristics in both groups were very similar regarding age, gender, tumor level, and Dukes' stages. A large proportion of the patients received short-term preoperative radiotherapy (78%). There was no significant difference in surgical outcome between the 2 techniques with respect to anastomotic height (4 cm), perioperative blood loss (500 ml), hospital stay (11 days), postoperative complications, reoperations or pelvic sepsis rates. Comparing functional results in the 2 study groups, only the ability to evacuate the bowel in <15 minutes at 6 months reached a significant difference in favor of the pouch procedure.

CONCLUSIONS: The data from this study show that either a colonic J-pouch or a side-to-end anastomosis performed on the descending colon in low-anterior resection with total mesorectal excision are methods that can be used with similar expected functional and surgical results.

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