The feasibility and safety of early ileostomy reversal: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Zi Qin Ng, Michael Levitt, Cameron Platell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Recent evidence supports the safety of early reversal of a temporary stoma, within 14 days of construction. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to evaluate the post-operative morbidity and overall feasibility of early stoma reversal. Methods: Medline and Cochrane databases were searched for studies up to June 2019 that investigated the outcomes of early stoma reversal (EC, defined as closure ≤14 days from the index operation) versus late stoma reversal (LC, ≥8 weeks from the index operation). Meta-analysis was performed on the respective rates of post-operative morbidity, anastomotic leak, wound infection, bleeding, sepsis, small bowel obstruction and ileus. Results: Nine studies were included (667 patients analysed). Meta-analysis showed no significant difference in the post-operative morbidity rate, anastomotic leak rate, rates of small bowel obstruction, bleeding and ileus between EC and LC. However, the wound infection rate was significantly higher after EC than LC; relative difference 0.10 (95% confidence interval 0.00–0.19, P = 0.047). The stoma-related complication rate was significantly higher after LC than EC; relative difference −0.28 (95% confidence interval -0.45 to −0.11, P = 0.001). Conclusion: The concept of early stoma reversal is appealing, and this meta-analysis confirms the safety of early stoma closure with an associated reduction in stoma-related complications despite higher wound infection rates. However, the results need to be interpreted with caution due to the heterogeneity of the studies included, especially in respect of the definition of complications that were used. Further well-designed prospective studies are required prior to confident adoption of early stoma closure into clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2020


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