Does Stool Leakage Increase in Aging Pouches?

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Restorative proctocolectomy with IPAA is the standard surgical option for patients with ulcerative colitis. Although ileal pouches have been shown to have acceptable functional outcomes, some patients experience fecal incontinence.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of fecal leakage and the way it may change over time in patients with an ileoanal pouch.


This study used a retrospective design.


The study was conducted at a tertiary care center.


Patients who received an IPAA for ulcerative colitis between 1983 and 2008 were accessed from a prospectively maintained database. We excluded patients with cancer, colonic dysplasia, and missing record of ileostomy closure and without long-term functional data.


We defined fecal leakage as leakage of stool more than once per day. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify associations with and possible risk factors for fecal leakage.


A total of 1228 patients were included in this study. There were 656 men, with a mean age of 38.7 years. The median follow-up time was 158 months. The fecal leakage rates at 5, 10, and >15 years were 24.6%, 25.7%, and 27.4% (p = 0.66). Patients with fecal leakage were significantly older at the time of surgery (p < 0.001), had longer disease duration before surgery (p = 0.04), underwent more 2-stage surgery (p = 0.04), included more women (p < 0.01), and showed lower preoperative maximum anal squeeze pressure (p = 0.008). On multivariate analysis, the only significant factor predisposing to fecal leakage was older age at the time of pouch surgery (OR = 1.07 (95% CI, 1.02–1.12); p = 0.005).


The study was limited by its retrospective and non-randomized nature.


The occurrence of fecal leakage in patients with IPAA does not change with time. However, increased age at the time of surgery may increase the chances of patients with IPAA having fecal leakage.

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