Introduction. Colonic J-pouch with coloanal anastomosis has gained popularity in the surgical treatment of middle and lower rectal pathologies. If a diverting ileostomy is performed, a pouchogram is frequently performed prior to ileostomy closure. The aim of this study was to assess the routine use of pouchogram prior to ileostomy closure in patients with colonic J pouch-anal anastomosis. Methods. All patients who underwent a colonic J pouch-anal anastomosis between 1990 and 2000 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with temporary loop ileostomy who had pouchogram prior to ileostomy closure were included. Pouchogram results were compared to the patient's post ileostomy closure clinical outcome. Sensitivity, specificity and predictive values of pouchogram were assessed. Results. Eighty-four patients had a pouchogram prior to ileostomy closure. Radiological abnormalities were evident in 6 patients, including 4 strictures, 1 pouch-vaginal fistula and 1 leak. Of these findings, 4 were false positives (3 strictures and 1 leak) and two were true positives (1 stricture and 1 pouch-vaginal fistula). The actual rate of pouch complications was 9.5% (8 complications) including 3 anastomotic leaks, all with normal pouchogram, 3 strictures requiring dilatation under anaesthesia, only one detected by pouchogram, and 2 pouch-vaginal fistulas, only one diagnosed by pouchogram. The sensitivity and specificity of pouchogram, respectively, was 0 and 98% for anastomotic leak, 33 and 96% for stricture, and 50 and 100% for pouch-vaginal fistula. Overall, pouchogram changed the management in only 1 of 84 patients. Conclusion. Pouchogram has a low sensitivity in predicting complications following ileostomy closure in patients after colonic J-pouch anal anastomosis and rarely changes the management of these patients. The use of pouchogram prior to ileostomy closure may be unnecessary and should be reserved in cases of clinical suspicion of complications.
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