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Complications and functional outcomes after ileo-anal pouch excision—a systematic review of 14 retrospective observational studies

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The ileo-anal pouch (IAP) has been the gold standard procedure for maintenance of bowel continuity after panproctocolectomy for ulcerative colitis, familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer. However, the IAP has an estimated failure rate of 13% at 10 years post-procedure (Tulchinsky et al., Ann Surg 238(2):229–34, 2003), which can result in pouch excision (P.E.). This systematic review aims to synthesise all the available studies reporting post-operative outcomes of P.E. and its impact on patient quality of life (QoL), when available, which have not previously been summarised.


PubMed, Embase, Medline and the Cochrane library databases were searched with terms ‘Pouch AND excision’ OR ‘Pouch AND removal’ OR ‘Pouch AND remove’ OR ‘IAP AND excision’. All studies reporting post-operative morbidity, mortality or functional outcomes in patients who had P.E. were included. Studies with < 5 patients, non-English studies and conference abstracts were excluded.


14 studies comprising 1601 patients were included. Overall complications varied from 18 to 63% with the most common being persistent perineal sinus (9–40%) or surgical site infection (wound—2 to 30%; intra-abdominal collection—3 to 24%). The mortality rate was between 0.58 and 1.4%. QoL is generally lower in P.E. patients compared to the normal population across various QoL measures and P.E. patients often had urinary and sexual dysfunction post-operatively.


There is a substantial incidence of complications after P.E.; however, there is no evidence describing QoL pre- and post-P.E. Further longitudinal research comparing QoL in patients undergoing P.E. and other treatment options such as indefinite diversion is required to definitively assess QoL post-procedure.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author [SM] upon reasonable request.


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This research was partially funded by Salts Healthcare Ltd.

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Authors and Affiliations



A.M. and M.T. conceived of the presented idea and developed the theory behind the process. S.A. and S.M. created the data extraction protocol and extracted the data after identifying the studies. S.A. and S.M summarised and analysed the results. S.M. wrote the manuscript which was reviewed by S.A., A.M. and M.T.

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Correspondence to S. MacDonald.

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MacDonald, S., Au, S., Thornton, M. et al. Complications and functional outcomes after ileo-anal pouch excision—a systematic review of 14 retrospective observational studies. Int J Colorectal Dis 36, 677–687 (2021).

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