International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 1619–1623 | Cite as

Morbidity related to defunctioning loop ileostomy in low anterior resection

  • Oscar Åkesson
  • Ingvar Syk
  • Gudrun Lindmark
  • Pamela BuchwaldEmail author
Original Article



A defunctioning loop ileostomy in low anterior resection reduces the incidence and morbidity of an anastomotic leakage, but complications related to the stoma may occur. We explored stoma-associated complications during the stoma period and after stoma reversal.


A retrospective analysis of rectal cancer patients operated with low anterior resection and a defunctioning loop ileostomy at Helsingborg Hospital and Malmö University Hospital from January 2007 to June 2009 was undertaken.


Ninety-two patients were included, of whom 82 (89 %) underwent stoma reversal. The median stoma period was 6.2 ± 3.2 months. Sixty-six percent of the patients suffered from minor or major stoma-associated morbidity. The complication rate was significantly related to the stoma time (p < 0.01). Twenty-nine percent (27/92) had at least one episode of dehydration, leading to readmittance in half of the cases. Elderly patients were more prone to develop dehydration. Dehydration most commonly occurred early in the postoperative period (mean, 5.8 weeks). The mean hospital stay for stoma reversal was 6.5 ± 4.0 days. Forty percent (33/82) had some complication associated with the reversal.


This study indicates high morbidity associated with defunctioning loop ileostomy. Our data suggest that the stoma time should be limited to reduce complications. Monitoring and early stoma reversal should be considered in elderly patients. Furthermore, stoma reversal is not uneventful, and more studies are needed to address how to minimize complications.


Defunctioning loop ileostomy Low anterior resection Morbidity Rectal cancer 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oscar Åkesson
    • 1
  • Ingvar Syk
    • 2
  • Gudrun Lindmark
    • 1
  • Pamela Buchwald
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Colorectal Unit, Department of SurgeryHelsingborg HospitalHelsingborgSweden
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryMalmö University HospitalMalmöSweden

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