[Temporary colostomies after sigmoid colon and rectum interventions—are they still justified?]

W Wahl, A Hassdenteufel, B Hofer, T Junginger
Langenbecks Archiv Für Chirurgie 1997, 382 (3): 149-56
Primary anastomosis is increasingly favored even in emergency colorectal surgery. Two-stage procedures are frequently considered obsolete. The aim of this study is to define conditions when a two-staged operative strategy with a temporary colostomy is still appropriate. We analyzed a series of 126 patients who were treated by a colostomy following resection and subsequent closure of the colostomy. In 44 cases the primary operation was a Hartmann resection, in 39 cases a resection with colostomy and mucous fistula and in 43 cases a resection with primary anastomosis and proximal loop colostomy. Complications of diverticular or neoplastic disease were generally managed by resection without primary anastomosis. Protective loop colostomy was done after low anterior resection of the rectum or in cases of anastomotic leakage. Patients were hospitalized again after an average of 6 months for closure of the colostomy. Restoration of intestinal continuity carried no significant risk of severe intra- or post-operative complications. Disturbances of wound healing occurred in 4.5% (Hartmann resection), 17.9% (colostomy and mucous fistula) and 20.9% (loop colostomy) of patients. We found an anastomotic dehiscence rate of 2.4% after discontinuity resections and of 4.7% after closure of loop colostomies. Only one patient with anastomotic leakage required surgical reintervention. The mortality after closure of a colostomy was zero. The rate of anastomotic leakage of 2.4% was lower than in published series with more than 7.2% after primary anastomosis, thus emphasizing the beneficial effect of a two-stage operative strategy. In emergency situations of sigmoidal and rectal surgery or in cases of low anastomosis of the distal rectum, unnecessary surgical complications can be avoided by resection without primary anastomosis or by performing protective loop colostomies.

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