Classification and Management of Disorders of the J Pouch

Am J Gastroenterol. 2023 Nov 1;118(11):19311939.doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000002348. Epub 2023 May 30.


Priscila Santiago 1Edward L Barnes 2Laura E Raffals 1


Author information

1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.

2Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA .


Total abdominal proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA) for ulcerative colitis (UC) is associated with substantial complications despite the benefits of managing refractory and/or neoplasia-associated disease. For the purpose of this review, we focused on the diagnosis of some of the most common inflammatory and structural pouch disorders and their respective management. Pouchitis is the most common complication, and it is typically responsive to antibiotics. However, chronic antibiotic refractory pouchitis (CARP) has been increasingly recognized, and biologic therapies have emerged as the mainstay of therapy. Crohn's-like disease of the pouch (CLDP) can affect up to 10% of patients with UC after IPAA. Medical options are similar to CARP therapies, including biologics with immunomodulators. Studies have shown higher efficacy rates of biologics for CLDP when compared with those for CARP. In addition, managing stricturing and fistulizing CLDP is challenging and often requires interventional endoscopy (balloon dilation and/or stricturotomy) and/or surgery. The implementation of standardized diagnostic criteria for inflammatory pouch disorders will help in advancing future therapeutic options. Structural pouch disorders are commonly related to surgical complications after IPAA. We focused on the diagnosis and management of anastomotic leaks, strictures, and floppy pouch complex. Anastomotic leaks and anastomotic strictures occur in approximately 15% and 11% of patients with UC after IPAA, respectively. Further complications from pouch leaks include the development of sinuses, fistulas, and pouch sepsis requiring excision. Novel endoscopic interventions and less invasive surgical procedures have emerged as options for the management of these disorders.

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