Long term follow up of patients undergoing colectomy for chronic idiopathic constipation

Cameron Platell, D. Schache, R. Stitz, G. Mumme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Chronic idiopathic constipation is a condition that mainly affects young women and is commonly associated with symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating. It has been proposed that patients with severe symptoms who are unresponsive to conservative measures can be managed by colonic resection. The aim of the present study was to assess the long-term outcome of such surgery on patients with a diagnosis of chronic idiopathic constipation.Methods: Ninety-six patients (92 females, 4 males) underwent either a total colectomy and ileorectal anastomosis (n = 86) or subtotal colectomy and caecorectal anastomosis (n = 10) between 1986 and 1994.Results: Postoperative mortality was 2.1%, 3.1% suffered from an anastomotic leak and 11.5% developed a pelvic abscess. Follow up was completed in 92.7% of patients at a mean of 5.0 +/- 2.3 years. Following surgery, symptomatic improvement was reported by 81.6% of patients. However, 51.2% still experienced difficulty with straining, 50.6% had some degree of anal incontinence, 55.2% continued to experience abdominal pains and 75.9% continued to be troubled by abdominal bloating. Reoperation was performed on 35.6% of patients (mainly for division of adhesions), and 9.2% of patients required an ileostomy.Conclusions: Colectomy is associated with relief of constipation in a majority of patients with chronic idiopathic constipation. However, it is associated with a considerable morbidity and is less effective in resolving symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-529
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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