NYMC Faculty Publications

Hartmann's Reversal Is More Complex Than Elective Left Colectomy

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The American Surgeon

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BACKGROUND: Hartmann's reversal (HR) is associated with significant technical complexity and morbidity. The decision to perform HR is difficult and up to 50% of patients with colostomies do not undergo a reversal. To better guide surgeons and patients with this decision, we sought to assess the surgical risks and outcomes of HR as compared to elective left colectomy (LC). METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of a prospective database at a tertiary medical center. Patients undergoing elective Hartmann's reversal and left colectomy between January 2014 and November 2021 were identified. We compared preoperative variables, intraoperative events, and short-term postoperative outcomes. RESULTS: 135 patients were identified: 30 HR and 105 LC. There were no significant differences in demographics or preoperative comorbidities between HR and LC. There were more open and fewer robotic cases in HR (23.3% vs 2.9%, < .0001; 46.6% vs 76.0%, < .01). Total operative time was significantly longer in HR than LC (261.8 vs 211.7 minutes, = .02). There was a significantly higher percentage of intraoperative complications in HR (13.3% vs 1.9%, < .01). There was a significantly higher rate of minor postoperative complications in HR than LC (46.7% vs 26.7%, = .04), but not major (6.7% vs 5.8%, = .85). Time to first flatus/bowel movement was significantly longer in HR than LC (3.6 vs 2.5 days, < .001). CONCLUSION: Hartmann's reversal is a more technically challenging operation than elective left colectomy and is associated with significantly higher rates of intraoperative and minor postoperative complications. Future studies should focus on mitigating these risk factors to optimize patient outcomes.