International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 73–78

Protective colostomy closure: the hazards of a “minor” operation


  • D. F. Altomare
    • Institute of Clinical SurgeryUniversity of Bari
  • O. C. Pannarale
    • Institute of Clinical SurgeryUniversity of Bari
  • L. Lupo
    • Institute of Clinical SurgeryUniversity of Bari
  • N. Palasciano
    • Institute of Clinical SurgeryUniversity of Bari
  • V. Memeo
    • Institute of Clinical SurgeryUniversity of Bari
  • M. Rubino
    • Institute of Clinical SurgeryUniversity of Bari
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF00298472

Cite this article as:
Altomare, D.F., Pannarale, O.C., Lupo, L. et al. Int J Colorect Dis (1990) 5: 73. doi:10.1007/BF00298472


A retrospective study of 87 patients, subjected to colostomy closure between 1976 and 1987, was conducted in order to evaluate the role of 8 potential risk factors on morbidity and mortality. Possible risk factors were age >65 years, presence of hypoalbuminaemia (<3.0 gr%), anaemia (Hb<10 gr%), operative technique, duration of colostomy, site of colostomy, underlying disease and presence of subcutaneous drainage. Apart from hypoalbuminaemia, no clear risk factor was identified, although an interval of more than 90 days between construction and closure of colostomy appears to be safer than shorter intervals. A comparison was also made between two different periods from 1976 to 1982 and from 1983 to 1987 which resulted in important changes in patient management in the second period including: type of antibiotic prophylaxis, type of anastomosis and suture material, site of colostomy and mean duration of colostomy. Four post-operative deaths (4.6%) (two for myocardial insufficiency and two for sepsis), 11 major (13%) and 25 (29%) minor complications were recorded. The analysis of the two different periods showed a strong reduction in both mortality and morbidity in the second period, which could be related to a better management of this type of patient. In conclusion, the incidence of mortality and morbidity in colostomy closure cannot be underestimated and therefore the same skill and meticulous approach are required for this operation as for any major surgical procedure on the colon.

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© Springer-Verlag 1990