The choice of operation for ulcerative colitis among 422 patients having all their surgery at one hospital between 1976 (the year of the first restorative proctocolectomy) and 1990, was reviewed. The 15 year period was divided into three quinquennia (1976-80, 1981-85, 1986-90). Elective surgery was performed in 316 patients with one operative death. The proportions of conventional proctocolectomy, colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis, and restorative proctocolectomy for the three quinquennia were 36/60, 17/60, 4/60; 29/111, 30/111, 35/111; 30/145, 17/145, 75/145. Of 106 urgent operations with three postoperative deaths, 12 had a conventional proctocolectomy and 86 a colectomy with ileostomy and preservation of the rectum. Of 85 survivors of the latter there were two late deaths and in 13 no further surgery had been done at the time of this assessment. In the remaining 70 having subsequent surgery the proportion of conventional proctocolectomy, colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis, and restorative proctocolectomy for the three quinquennia respectively were 19/27, 4/27, 14/27; 11/21, 2/21, 8/21; 5/22, 4/22, 13/22. Of the 76 patients having colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis 12 (16%) no longer had a functioning rectum at the end of 1990. Of the 153 patients having an ileoanal pouch procedure, 11 (7%) no longer had, a functioning anus. The study showed an increase in the numbers of patients having elective surgery for ulcerative colitis during the three quinquennia. It also showed a rise of restorative over conventional proctocolectomy with diminution in elective colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis in the last five year period.
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