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Arch Surg. 1999 Dec;134(12):1385-8.

Colostomy vs tube cecostomy for protection of a low anastomosis in rectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Innsbruck, Austria.



Symptomatic anastomotic leakage is the most important surgical complication following rectal resection with intestinal anastomosis. Therefore, the routine use of a protective stoma is suggested by several authors. In our department 2 different techniques are performed to protect the anastomosis. Patients receive either a loop colostomy/ileostomy (C/I) or a tube cecostomy (TC).


No significant difference is noted between C/I and TC for protection of a low anastomosis regarding clinical anastomotic leakage rate, reoperation rate for anastomotic leaks/fistulas, postoperative mortality, and permanent colostomy rate. By avoiding a second operation (for colostomy closure), median hospital stay should be significantly reduced.


A retrospective review during 1985 to 1997.


Tertiary care center


One hundred fifty-eight patients who had undergone anterior resections for rectal cancer were studied. Protective C/Is were used in 19 patients; a TC was fashioned in 30 patients.


Clinical anastomotic leakage rate, reoperation rate for anastomotic leaks/fistulas, postoperative mortality, permanent colostomy rate, and median hospital stay.


The rate of anastomotic leaks (C/I, 16%; TC, 17%), fecal peritonitis (C/I, 0%; TC, 10%), reoperation for anastomotic leaks/fistulas (C/I, 0%; TC, 13%), permanent colostomies (C/I, 0%; TC, 7%), and postoperative mortality (C/I, 5%; TC, 0%) did not differ significantly in both groups. Median hospital stay was significantly reduced in patients with TC (C/I, 28 days; TC, 15 days).


In our patients with low resections for rectal cancer, a C/I for protection of the anastomosis did not improve outcome significantly as compared with a TC. With a properly fashioned TC and adequate postoperative management a second operation (for colostomy closure) can be avoided and the overall hospital stay is significantly reduced.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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