The Role of Temporary Fecal Diversion
The use of temporary fecal diversion is of great importance to tenuous anastomosis, immunosuppressed patient, or actively infected patient. Its use protects newly constructed intestinal anastomoses from being the culprit of pelvic sepsis or systemic illness. Thus, potential morbidity and mortality can be averted. However, its appropriate or optimal use is often debated. We herein discuss the evidence for when to best use a diverting stoma for colorectal, coloanal, and ileoanal anastomoses. We also discuss the importance of considering a temporary diverting stoma in the setting of high-dose immunosuppression (e.g., transplant patients or inflammatory bowel disease), active infection, or upon creation of ileal pouch-anal anastomosis. Lastly, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a loop ileostomy versus colostomy for temporary diversion of fecal contents.