Primary and secondary restorative proctocolectomy for familial adenomatous polyposis: complications and long-term bowel function

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The aim of the study was to evaluate intra-operative difficulties, complications and long-term bowel function in polyposis patients undergoing conversion of an ileorectal anastomosis to an ileoanal pouch, compared with patients with a primary ileoanal pouch operation.


A national register-based retrospective study was performed with clinical follow-up and a questionnaire on long-term bowel function.


There were 84 patients in the study: 59 (70%) had a primary pouch operation and in 25 (30%) a secondary pouch procedure was attempted. This was abandoned, in one case, leaving 24 patients who had a successful secondary restorative proctocolectomy. The median (range) follow-up was 123 (0–359) months. There were no intra-operative difficulties in the 59 primary operations, but intra-operative difficulties were reported in nine of 25 secondary operations (P< 0.001). Complications within 1 month of surgery occurred in six of 59 primary operations and in none of 24 secondary operations (P < 0.001); and late surgical complications occurred in eight of 55 primary operations and in eight of 24 secondary operations (P= 0.13). The only difference in bowel function was a lower frequency of nocturnal defaecation after secondary pouch formation (P= 0.02).


Reoperation with proctectomy after a previous ileorectal anastomosis and conversion to restorative proctocolectomy is feasible in polyposis patients, with morbidity and functional results similar to those seen after a primary pouch operation.

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