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Professor G. L. Hill University Department of Surgery, Auckland Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand. Email: <>


Background: Restorative proctocolectomy with ileal pouch–anal anastomosis (IPAA) has become an established operation for patients with ulcerative colitis and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). The results of a 15-year experience with IPAA are reported.

Methods: Between September 1982 and June 1997, 203 patients had IPAA surgery. From a review of the charts, data were collected on the surgical procedure, the diagnosis and early and late complications. Pouch function was assessed by means of a postal questionnaire.

Results: Of the 201 patients (median age of 32 years; 89 women) with complete records, 122 had J pouches, 65 had W pouches and 14 S pouches were constructed. The pre-operative diagnosis in 88% was ulcerative colitis and in 10% it was FAP. During a median follow-up time of 6.1 years the diagnoses were changed for 8% of the patients; in 4% the diagnosis was changed to Crohn’s disease. The overall mortality was 1.5% (early = 2, late = 1) The overall morbidity was 62% (early = 17%, late = 52%). The pouch was removed or was non-functional in 9%. All patients with a final diagnosis of Crohn’s disease have had their pouch excised. The median stool frequency was 4.0 (range 1.3–8.7) during the day, and 0.7 (range 0–2.1) during the night. The fewer night-time stools (J = 1.0 ± 0.6; W = 0.4 ± 0.5 P < 0.0001) and the reduced requirement of the W-pouch patients for anti-diarrhoeals (P = 0.004) were offset by the need for two W-pouch patients to pass a catheter to empty their pouches.

Conclusions: The type of patients who present for IPAA surgery and the outcomes observed in this series of Auckland patients are similar to those reported from major centres elsewhere.

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