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When is the best time for temporary stoma closure in laparoscopic sphincter-saving surgery for rectal cancer? A study of 259 consecutive patients



There is no consensus regarding the best timing for temporary stoma closure after proctectomy for rectal cancer, especially if the patient requires adjuvant chemotherapy. This study aimed to assess whether the timing of stoma closure could influence postoperative morbidity.


Patients with rectal cancer undergoing laparoscopic proctectomy with temporary stoma were included and divided into three groups according to the delay of stoma closure after proctectomy: ≤60 days (Group A), 61–90 days (Group B), and >90 days (Group C).


From 2008 to 2013, 259 patients (146 men, median age 61 years) were divided into Groups A (n = 65), B (n = 115), and C (n = 79). At the time of stoma closure, seven (11 %) patients received adjuvant chemotherapy in Group A versus 42 (37 %) in Group B (p = 0.0002) and 24 (30 %) in Group C (p = 0.004), and peristomal hernia was noted in four patients (6 %) in Group A versus 14 (12 %) in Group B and 21 (27 %) in Group C (p < 0.0001). Although overall postoperative morbidity was similar between groups, anastomotic leakage (at the stoma closure site) was noted in one patient in Group A versus zero in Group B versus four in Group C (p = 0.03). Median hospital stay was 5 days in Group A versus 6 in Group B versus 6 in Group C (p = 0.004).


Our results suggested that timing of temporary stoma closure can influence postoperative morbidity. Best results were obtained if stoma closure was performed before 90 days, even during adjuvant chemotherapy. There is no benefit in delaying stoma closure after completion of adjuvant chemotherapy.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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The authors declare that informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.

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Correspondence to Y. Panis.

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Figueiredo, M.N., Mège, D., Maggiori, L. et al. When is the best time for temporary stoma closure in laparoscopic sphincter-saving surgery for rectal cancer? A study of 259 consecutive patients. Tech Coloproctol 19, 469–474 (2015).

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  • Temporary stoma
  • Stoma closure
  • Anastomotic leak
  • Rectal cancer