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When are defunctioning stomas in rectal cancer surgery really reversed? Results from a population-based single center experience

H Floodeen, R Lindgren, P Matthiessen
Scandinavian Journal of Surgery: SJS 2013, 102 (4): 246-50
24056133

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: This study assessed the timing of reversal of defunctioning stoma following low anterior resection of the rectum for cancer and risk factors for a defunctioning stoma becoming permanent in patients who were not reversed.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patients who underwent low anterior resection with defunctioning stoma during a 12-year period were assessed with regard to timing of stoma reversal. Delayed reversal was defined as >4 months after low anterior resection. Patients with a defunctioning stoma that was never reversed were assessed regarding risk factors for permanent stoma.

RESULTS: A total of 134 patients were analyzed. Of 106 stoma reversals, 19% were reversed within 4 months of low anterior resection, while 81% were reversed later than 4 months. In 58% of these patients, the delay was to due to low medical priority given to this procedure. The other main reasons for delayed stoma reversal were nonsurgical complications (20%), symptomatic anastomotic leakage following low anterior resection (12%), and postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy (10%). Of all patients, 21% (28/134) ended up with a permanent stoma. Risk factors for a defunctioning stoma becoming permanent were stage IV cancer (P < 0.001) and symptomatic anastomotic leakage following low anterior resection (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Four in five patients experienced a delayed stoma reversal, in a majority because of the low priority given to this surgical procedure.

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