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Role of Water-Soluble Enema before Takedown of Diverting Ileostomy for Low Pelvic Anastomosis

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The integrity of a low pelvic anastomosis is often studied radiographically before takedown of a diverting ileostomy. The aim of this study is to determine the impact of routine water-soluble enema studies (WSE) in our patient population with low pelvic anastomosis. We retrospectively reviewed the operative database for a county teaching hospital from 1998 to 2008. All patients with low pelvic anastomosis (ultralow colorectal, coloanal, and ileoanal pouch anastomosis) with diverting ileostomy who underwent subsequent takedown were identified. Fifty patients met inclusion criteria. Thirty-eight patients were evaluated by WSE and 12 were not. Twenty-five patients (66%) were noted to have normal WSE studies before ostomy takedown. Thirteen patients (26%) were noted to have abnormalities on WSE. Two stenoses were clinically significant. Water-soluble enema study was 100 per cent sensitive and 69 per cent specific for detecting significant pathology. Digital rectal examination (DRE), colonoscopy, and flexible sigmoidoscopy were also 100 per cent sensitive in detecting substantial pathology. Routine use of WSE failed to demonstrate a significant impact on patients with low pelvic anastomosis undergoing ileostomy takedown. Routine DRE and rigid proctoscopy can be used to evaluate low pelvic anastomosis. WSE can be used selectively on patients with abnormal findings.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California

Publication date: 01 October 2009

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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