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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2011 Nov;26(11):1469-74. doi: 10.1007/s00384-011-1272-y. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Pelvic abscess associated with anastomotic leak in patients with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA): transanastomotic or CT-guided drainage?

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  • 1Department of Colorectal Surgery, Digestive Disease Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.



Evidence is lacking whether an abscess associated with anastomotic leak after an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) should be drained by transanal or CT-guided drainage. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare outcomes after the two techniques for drainage.


Patients who underwent IPAA (1984-2009) and diagnosed with a pelvic abscess associated with an anastomotic leak were identified. The choice of operative or image-guided drainage was based on surgeon preference. Differences between patients undergoing transanal (group TA) and CT-guided drainage (group CT) were determined.


Groups TA (n = 53) and CT (n = 18) had similar age (p = 0.3), gender (p = 0.3), body mass index (p = 0.6), steroid use (p = 0.4), albumin level (p = 0.9), ileostomy (p = 0.6), and follow-up time (p = 0.5). The size of the abscess was greater in group CT (p = 0.012). Two patients developed fistula at the CT-guided drainage site. Both healed after conservative treatment and drainage of associated gluteal abscess, respectively. Thirteen patients in group TA and three patients in group CT (p = 0.6) had failure of drainage and underwent surgery. The success rates for the procedures in terms of long-term pouch retention were 75.5% and 83%, respectively, for TA and CT. Groups TA and CT had similar bowel frequency (p = 0.9), incontinence (p = 0.6), urgency (p = 0.9), seepage (p = 0.6), pad usage (p = 0.1), quality of life (p = 0.9), and happiness with surgery (p = 0.9).


There is a risk of fistula at drainage site after a CT-guided drainage of the pelvic abscess associated with anastomotic leak following IPAA. Transanal and CT-guided drainage are equally effective and result in similar long-term pouch-related outcomes.

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