Who needs diverting ileostomy following laparoscopic low anterior resection in rectal cancer patients? Analysis of 417 patients in a single institute



Anastomotic leakage (AL) is one of the most serious complications after low anterior resection (LAR) for rectal cancer, and the significance of diverting stoma to prevent AL is still controversial. The aim of this study is to clarify the potential benefits and safety of diverting ileostomy (DI) following laparoscopic LAR in rectal cancer patients.


This was a retrospective cohort study of 417 rectal cancer patients who underwent laparoscopic LAR in a single institute. The risk factors for AL and the DI-related morbidity were assessed.


DI was performed in 226 patients (54.2%). The incidence rates of symptomatic AL showed no significant difference between patients with and without DI (8.4% vs. 10.0%, p = 0.612). AL requiring a surgical intervention was relatively lower in patients with DI than in those without DI (1.8% vs. 4.7%, p = 0.097). DI construction was an independent risk factor for AL requiring a surgical intervention (OR 3.47, p = 0.041), as was the serum albumin level (p = 0.003), and being male was a relative risk factor (p = 0.058). Focusing on sex, the rate of AL requiring a surgical intervention was significantly different in male (1.7 and 7.9%, p = 0.021) but not in female patients (1.9 and 1.1%, p = 1.000) with and without DI. The DI construction-related morbidity was 9.7%, and no patient required a reoperation. Of 226 patients with DI, 209 (92.5%) underwent stoma closure 118 days (median 30–509 days) after LAR. The stoma closure-related morbidity was 9.1% and 1 patient (0.5%) required a reoperation due to anastomotic leakage.


DI following laparoscopic LAR can decrease the risk of AL, requiring a surgical intervention, especially in male patients with malnutrition. However, due to DI-related morbidity, DI is not recommended in female patients.

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Correspondence to Shigeki Yamaguchi.

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Shigeki Yamaguchi had fees for lectures from Covidien, Johnson & Johnson, and Olympus. Hiroki Shimizu, Toshimasa Ishii, Hiroka Kondo, Kiyoka Hara, Kenichi Takemoto, Shintaro Ishikawa, Takuhisa Okada, Asami Suzuki, and Isamu Koyama have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Shimizu, H., Yamaguchi, S., Ishii, T. et al. Who needs diverting ileostomy following laparoscopic low anterior resection in rectal cancer patients? Analysis of 417 patients in a single institute. Surg Endosc 34, 839–846 (2020).

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  • Laparoscopic low anterior resection
  • Diverting ileostomy
  • Anastomotic leakage
  • Sex
  • Stoma complication