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World J Gastroenterol. 2019 Aug 21;25(31):4320-4342. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v25.i31.4320.

Ileal-anal pouches: A review of its history, indications, and complications.

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John Goligher Colorectal Unit, St. James's University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF, United Kingdom.
Department of Colorectal Surgery, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Huddersfield HD3 3EA, United Kingdom.
John Goligher Colorectal Unit, St. James's University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF, United Kingdom,


The ileal pouch anal anastomosis (IPAA) has revolutionised the surgical management of ulcerative colitis (UC) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). Despite refinement in surgical technique(s) and patient selection, IPAA can be associated with significant morbidity. As the IPAA celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018, this review provides a timely outline of its history, indications, and complications. IPAA has undergone significant modification since 1978. For both UC and FAP, IPAA surgery aims to definitively cure disease and prevent malignant degeneration, while providing adequate continence and avoiding a permanent stoma. The majority of patients experience long-term success, but "early" and "late" complications are recognised. Pelvic sepsis is a common early complication with far-reaching consequences of long-term pouch dysfunction, but prompt intervention (either radiological or surgical) reduces the risk of pouch failure. Even in the absence of sepsis, pouch dysfunction is a long-term complication that may have a myriad of causes. Pouchitis is a common cause that remains incompletely understood and difficult to manage at times. 10% of patients succumb to the diagnosis of pouch failure, which is traditionally associated with the need for pouch excision. This review provides a timely outline of the history, indications, and complications associated with IPAA. Patient selection remains key, and contraindications exist for this surgery. A structured management plan is vital to the successful management of complications following pouch surgery.


Crohn’s disease; Familial adenomatous polyposis; Ileal pouch; Restorative proctocolectomy; Ulcerative colitis

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Conflict-of-interest statement: No conflicts of interest exist.

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