The authors compared clinical bowel function and complications of a low anterior resection with either a straight or colonic J pouch anastomosis.Summary Background Data
Urgency and frequent bowel movements after rectal resection with a low anastomosis have been related to the loss of rectal reservoir function. Reconstruction with a colonic J pouch possibly can obviate some of this dysfunction. Earlier reports have been favorable, but they must be verified in randomized trials.Method
One hundred patients with rectal cancer in whom a sphincter-saving procedure was appropriate were randomized to reconstruction with either a straight or a colonic J pouch anastomosis.Results
The incidence of symptomatic anastomotic leakage was lower in the pouch group (2% vs. 15%, p = 0.03). Eighty-nine patients could be evaluated after 1 year. The pouch patients had significantly fewer bowel movements per 24 hours, and less nocturnal evacuations, urgency, and incontinence. Overall well-being owing to the bowel function was rated significantly higher by the pouch patients.Conclusion
Reconstruction with a colonic J pouch was associated with a lower incidence of anastomotic leakage and better clinical bowel function when compared with the traditional straight anastomosis. Functional superiority was especially evident during the first 2 months.