Colectomy for slow transit constipation: Effective for patients with coexistent obstructed defecation

Avraham Reshef, Patricia Alves-Ferreira, Massarat Zutshi, Tracy Hull, Brooke Gurland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Patient selection is a crucial step when considering total abdominal colectomy and ileorectal anastomosis (TAC/IRA) for refractory constipation. Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate the results of short- and long-term outcomes for patients with pure slow transit constipation (STC) compared to those with slow transit and features of obstructive defecation (STC + OD). Methods: This study included all patients who underwent TAC/IRA for constipation from 1999-2010. Patients were divided into two groups: group A (STC) and group B (STC + OD) based on abnormal physiology or motility testing in addition to the surgeon's clinical impression of symptomatic obstructive defecation. Demographics, operative variables, and short-term outcomes were collected by retrospective chart review and were compared between groups. Long-term functional outcomes were assessed by telephone survey. This included: number of bowel movements, use of laxatives, antidiarrheal medications, and surgery satisfaction. Validated questionnaires were collected postoperatively. Results: One hundred forty-four patients (143 females; mean age, 40 (18-68) years old) underwent TAC/IRA by either laparoscopic (63 (44 %)) or open (81 (56 %)) techniques. One hundred three patients had pure STC and 41 had STC + OD. Four patients underwent TAC with end ileostomy at first procedure. Seven patients underwent surgery after a trial of diverting ileostomy. One patient died unexpectedly, 2 days after uneventful surgery. Median follow-up was 43 (IQR, 16-75) months. Five (5 %) patients in group A and two (5 %) in group B underwent subsequent ileostomy for poor functional outcomes. Eighty-eight (68 %) patients were available by telephone. Short- and long-term outcomes were equivalent in both groups as well as patient satisfaction (89 vs. 85 %, p = 0.7). Conclusions: Total abdominal colectomy can be offered to selective patients with slow transit constipation and obstructive defecation with equivalent long-term results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-847
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Colorectal Disease
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Ileorectal anastomosis
  • Obstructed defecation
  • Slow transit constipation
  • Total abdominal colectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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