Defunctioning loop ileostomy with low anterior resection for distal rectal cancer: should we make an ileostomy as a routine procedure? A prospective randomized study

G G Chude, N V Rayate, V Patris, Mahim Koshariya, Rajan Jagad, J Kawamoto, N J Lygidakis
Hepato-gastroenterology 2008, 55 (86-87): 1562-7

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Anastomotic leakage is a major problem in colorectal surgery particularly in low rectal cancer. The defunctioning loop ileostomy was introduced as a technique to create a manageable stoma that would divert the fecal stream from a more distal anastomosis in order to reduce the consequences of any anastomotic leakage. Therefore, the use of a defunctioning stoma has been suggested, but limited data exist to clearly determine the necessity of routine diversion. This study was designed to evaluate early morbidity, mortality and hospital stay in patients undergoing lower rectal cancer surgery concerned with or without loop ileostomy.

METHODOLOGY: This is a prospective randomized study that was performed between May 2001 and March 2008. There were 256 patients who underwent elective low anterior resection and stapler anastomosis. They were divided into two groups. Group A consisted of 120 patients who underwent straight anastomosis without ileostomy and group B consisted of 136 patients who underwent straight anastomosis with loop ileostomy. Data regarding patient demographics, underlying pathology, anastomotic problems, and ileostomy-related problems were gathered. The patients were all monitored closely after surgery for an anastomotic leak and all stoma-related complications were recorded. Inclusion criteria consisted of biopsy proven adenocarcinoma of the rectum located at < or = 5 cm above the anal verge, age > or = 22 years, and informed consent. Exclusion criteria included age more than 90 years, associated co morbid conditions Stage IV with disease spread to liver and peritoneum.

RESULTS: Indications for surgery were lower rectal cancer (n=256). Mean age 55.5 years (range 22-90 years) and a male: female ratio of 1.1:1. All patients were undergoing elective surgery for lower rectal cancer. In our study 12 patients in group A developed anastomotic leak, two of them were re-explored for anastomotic leak and Hartman's colostomy was carried out. There were two deaths in Group A. In group B anastomotic leak was seen in three patients. In all three, anastomotic healing took place at a later period of time on the 18th, 20th, and 25th postoperative day respectively without any additional morbidity and mortality. Ileostomy-related problems were minor and limited to the stoma and complaints requiring stoma nurse evaluation (n=8), dehydration requiring outpatient care (n=3), bleeding at the stoma closure site (n=l). No stoma site hernias have been identified so far.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of defunctioning loop ileostomy in all patients undergoing lower rectal surgery with stapler anastomosis is beneficial and safe. Defunctioning loop ileostomy use has resulted in no anastomotic leak rate and considerable low morbidity. So according to our study, we strongly recommend defunctioning loop ileostomy as a routine procedure in patients undergoing lower rectal cancer surgery.


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