Comparison of Surgical Outcomes for Colostomy Closure Performed by Acute Care Surgeons Versus a Dedicated Colorectal Surgery Service.


North Carolina


Mission Hospital

Document Type


Publication Date



colorectal surgery, colostomy, digestive system surgical procedures


Digestive System Diseases | Surgery | Surgical Procedures, Operative


BACKGROUND: Despite colostomy closure being a common procedure, it remains highly morbid. Previous literature suggests that complication rates, including surgical site infections, intra-abdominal abscess, and anastomotic failures, reach as high as 50%. With the creation of a dedicated colorectal service, colostomy reversals have been largely migrated from the acute care surgery services. This study analyzes the differences in outcomes in colostomy closures performed between colorectal surgeons and acute care surgeons.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed our experience with 127 colostomy closures performed in our hospital system by acute care surgeons and colorectal surgeons from 2016 through 2020. Demographic data, operative data, and outcomes such as abscess formation, anastomotic leak, and readmission were analyzed. Multivariate regression analysis was performed for intraabdominal abscesses and anastomotic leaks.

RESULTS: In total, 71 colostomy closures were performed by colorectal surgeons (56%) and 56 by acute care surgeons (43%). The majority of colostomy reversals were after Hartmann's procedure for perforated diverticulitis. No differences in demographics were identified, except for a shorter interval to closure in the acute care surgeons group (10.0 vs 7.2 months; P = .049). Two (3.6%) acute care surgeon patients required colorectal surgeon consultation during the definitive repair. Regression analysis identified body mass index (odds ratio 2.43; P = .001), male gender (odds ratio -2.39; P = .18), and colorectal surgeons (odds ratio -2.28; P = .025) as significant risk factors for anastomotic leak.

CONCLUSION: Analysis of the current series identified female gender and increased body mass index as higher risk, while procedures performed by colorectal surgeons were at decreased risk for anastomotic leak. Our study identified colostomy reversals performed by a dedicated colorectal service decreased the rate of anastomotic leak.

Publisher or Conference

Surgery: Official Journal of the Society of University Surgeons, Central Surgical Association, and the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons