PURPOSE: The colon coordinates fecal elimination while reabsorbing excess fluid. Extended colonic resection removes synchronous and prevents metachronous disease but may adversely alter bowel function and health-related quality of life to a greater degree than segmental resection. This study examined the short-term morbidity and long-term function and quality of life after colon resections of different extents. METHODS: Patients undergoing extended resections (n = 201, subtotal colectomy with ileosigmoid or total abdominal colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis) and segmental colonic resections (n = 321) during 1991 to 2003 were reviewed for perioperative outcomes and surveyed for bowel function and quality of life using an institutional questionnaire and a validated quality of life instrument (response rate: 70 percent). RESULTS: The most common indication for extended resections was multiple polyps, and for segmental resections, single malignancy. The complication-free rate was 75.4 percent after segmental resections, 42.8 percent after ileosigmoid anastomosis, and 60 percent after ileorectal anastomosis. Median daily stool frequency was two after segmental resections, four after ileosigmoid anastomosis, and five after ileorectal anastomosis, despite considerable dietary restrictions (55.6 percent) and medication use (19.6 percent daily) after ileorectal anastomosis. Significant proportions of patients felt restricted from preoperative social activity (31.5 percent), housework (20.4 percent), recreation (31.5 percent), and travel (42.6 percent) after ileorectal anastomosis. The overall quality of life after segmental resection, ileosigmoid anastomosis, and ileorectal anastomosis was 98.5, 94.9, and 91.2, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Measurable compromises in long-term bowel function and quality of life were observed after extended vs. segmental resections. The relative differences in patient-related outcomes should be deliberated against the clinical benefits of extended resection for the individual patient.
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