Systematic review: outcomes and post-operative complications following colectomy for ulcerative colitis.Peyrin-Biroulet L, Germain A, Patel AS, Lindsay JO. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Aug 17. [Epub ahead of print]

BACKGROUND:Colectomy for ulcerative colitis is associated with short- and long-term complications. Estimates of the frequency of such complications are variable and may have changed since the introduction of biological therapy. Understanding the true burden of surgical complications is important to clinicians in assessing risks and benefits of colectomy vs. continued medical therapy.

AIM:To ascertain the outcomes of colectomy and ileal pouch surgery in patients with ulcerative colitis in the biologics era.METHODS:Embase, MEDLINE and The Cochrane Library were searched for studies (2002-2015) reporting the outcomes of colorectal procedures (total and subtotal colectomy, IPAA with J-, S-, W-pouch) in adults with ulcerative colitis. Conferences proceedings (2011-2015) were hand-searched.RESULTS:We identified 28 studies (20,801 patients) reporting outcomes from procedures conducted from 2002-2015. Early complications (≤30 days post-operatively), reported in 10 studies, occurred in 9-65% of patients with ulcerative colitis; late complications (>30 days post-operatively) occurred in 17-55% of patients. Most frequent short-term complications: infectious complications and ileus (mean incidence 20% and 18%). Most frequent long-term complications: pouchitis, faecal incontinence and small bowel obstruction (mean incidence 29%, 21% and 17%). Rates of early infection and late pouch failure decreased from 22% and 13% in 2002-2009 to 11% and 2% in 2010-2015. The mean incidence of post-operative mortality was 1.0% across 11 studies.CONCLUSIONS:Early and late complications arise in about a third of patients undergoing surgery for ulcerative colitis. While colorectal surgical procedures are recommended for a specific group of patients, the post-operative complications associated with these procedures should not be underestimated.

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