Considerations in stoma reversal

Sherman KL, Wexner SD. Considerations in Stoma Reversal. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2017 Jul;30(3):172-177.

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Temporary stomas are frequently used in the management of diverticulitis, colorectal cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. These temporary stomas are used to try to mitigate septic complications from anastomotic leaks and to avoid the need for reoperation. Once acute medical conditions have improved and after the anastomosis has been proven to be healed, stomas can be reversed. Contrast enemas, digital rectal examination, and endoscopic evaluation are used to evaluate the anastomosis prior to reversal. Stoma reversal is associated with complications including anastomotic leak, postoperative ileus, bowel obstruction, enterocutaneous fistula, and, most commonly, surgical site infection. Furthermore, many stomas, which were intended to be temporary, may not be reversed due to postoperative complications, adjuvant therapy, or prohibitive comorbidities.

Pathogenesis of diversion colitis

This week’s discussions included the causes of diversion colitis.


Tominaga K, et al. Diversion colitis and pouchitis: A mini-review. World J Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr 28;24(16):1734-1747.

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“The basic mechanisms underlying diversion colitis are still unclear. Glotzer hypothesized that it might be the result of bacterial overgrowth, the presence of harmful bacteria, nutritional deficiencies, toxins, or disturbance in the symbiotic relationship between luminal bacteria and the mucosal layer[2]. Reportedly, concentrations of carbohydrate-fermenting anaerobic bacteria and pathogenic bacteria are reduced in de-functioned colons[5,23,53] and these reports indicate that the overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria or a pathogenic bacterium is unlikely to be an important etiological factor. On the other hand, there is an increase of nitrate-reducing bacteria in patients with diversion colitis[7] and nitrate-reducing bacteria produce nitric oxide (NO) which plays a protective role in low concentrations, but at higher levels it becomes toxic to the colonic tissue[54]. Thus, it has been suggested that increases in nitrate-reducing bacteria may result in toxic levels of NO, leading to the diversion colitis.” (Tominaga, 2018, p. 1739)

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