Modified Pfannenstiel Open Approach as an Alternative to Laparoscopic Total Proctocolectomy and IPAA: Comparison of Short- and Long-term Outcomes and Quality of Life

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A laparoscopic approach to total proctocolectomy with IPAA has been suggested to have better short-term outcomes and cosmesis, whereas open surgery by midline incision may result in shorter operative times. We hypothesized that a modified Pfannenstiel open approach would combine the advantages of both techniques.


The purpose of this study was to compare outcomes of open total proctocolectomy with IPAA using a modified Pfannenstiel incision versus those following the laparoscopic approach.


This was a retrospective study comparing patients submitted to open IPAA using modified Pfannenstiel incision versus laparoscopy from 1998 to 2014.


The study was conducted at a high-volume tertiary referral center.


Among 1275 patients, 119 patients underwent the laparoscopic approach and 33 underwent the modified Pfannenstiel approach.


Short- and long-term outcomes were evaluated, and quality-of-life questionnaires were assessed.


Patients who underwent the modified Pfannenstiel approach were younger, more often women, and had lower BMI and ASA classification compared with those who underwent laparoscopy. Surgical time was lower in Pfannenstiel, and no difference was observed in length of hospital stay. No difference was observed in postoperative complications, pouch failure rate, or quality of life. Patients were then matched 1:1 by diagnosis, sex, age (±5 y) and BMI (±5 kg/m2). The Pfannenstiel approach still had a shorter surgical time. No difference was observed in the length of hospital stay, complications, pouch failure, or quality of life. In long-term follow-up, pouchitis symptoms occurred more frequently in Pfannenstiel (mean follow-up = 7.3 y), and seepage was more frequently observed in the laparoscopy group (mean follow-up = 4.2 y). These differences were not observed in matched patients.


The study was limited by its retrospective design and inherent selection bias.


The modified Pfannenstiel approach provides equivalent short- and long-term outcomes and similar quality of life compared with laparoscopy but with a significantly shorter operative time. The modified Pfannenstiel approach to total proctocolectomy with IPAA may be the most efficient method in selected patients. See Video Abstract at

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