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Between March 1989 and August 1990, we performed 21 stapled J pouch ileoanal procedures (20 ulcerative colitis [UC], 1 familial polyposis (FPJ) without an ileostomy in 19, of whom 13 were taking prednisone and eight underwent semi-emergent surgery for uncontrollable bleeding. During the same time, an additional four patients required a standard ileoanal procedure. The results of anal manometry and clinical function were compared to 25 patients who had previously undergone mucosal stripping and a sutured J pouch ileoanal anastomoses with a temporary diverting ileostomy between October 1982 and August 1990. During this same time period, an additional 19 patients underwent an antiperistaltic reversed J pouch and 18 an S pouch, for a total of 83 ileoanal procedures. The reversed J pouch had a lower stool frequency than a standard J pouch but had an unacceptable incidence of complications and problems with pouch emptying. The S pouch had a stool frequency similar to the standard J pouch but provided greater length in patients with a short mesentery. Stapled J pouch ileoanal patients had a better (p < 0.02) maximum anal sphincter resting pressure (46 ±11 versus 34 ±12 mmHg), fewer (p < 0.05) night-time accidents (22% versus 68%), daytime (17% versus 55%) or night-time (28 versus 61%) spotting, or use of a protective pad at night (11% versus 42%) than nonstapled J pouch ileoanal patients. Stool frequency was similar in the two groups. All but one UC patient had residual disease at the anastomosis. Anal mucosa between the dentate line and stapled anastomosis was 1.8 ± 1.3 cm (range, 0 to 3.5 cm). Complications in the nonstapled J pouch group included 4 pouches excised (2 for complications, 2 for excessive stool frequency), 1 pelvic abscess, 2 stenosis requiring dilation under anesthesia, 1 enterocutaneous fistula after ileostomy closure, 1 ileostomy site hernia, and 2 small bowel obstructions. Of the 65 patients who underwent ileostomy closure in the entire series, 8 (12%) developed a complication requiring surgical intervention. Complications in the stapled group included 1 anastomotic leak, 1 pouch leak, and 1 pelvic abscess. Patients were managed successfully with drainage (all 3) and diverting ileostomy (1). One patient developed stenosis requiring dilation under anesthesia. The stapled J pouch ileoanal anastomosis is a simpler, safer procedure with less tension than a standard handsewn J pouch but leaves a very small cuff of residual disease. It provides significantly better stool control and may obviate the need for an ileostomy with its complications.