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Bowel Preparation for Colostomy Reversal in Children

Pediatric bowel preparation protocols used before colostomy reversal vary. The aim of this study is to determine institutional practices at our institution and evaluate the impact of bowel preparations on postoperative outcomes and hospital length of stay in children.


This was a retrospective review of children ≤18 years old undergoing colostomy reversal at Texas Children's Hospital (TCH) between 12/2013 and 8/2017. Preoperative bowel regimens and outcomes were collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics, Wilcoxon Rank-Sum and Fishers Exact tests. Continuous variables are presented as median [IQR].


Sixty-one children underwent colostomy reversal. Thirty-eight (62%) did not receive a preoperative bowel preparation. The two cohorts were similar in age, gender, and race. The most common indication for colostomy was anorectal malformation for thirty-seven (61%). Time from admission to surgery (19 h [17, 23] vs 3 [2, 3]; p < 0.01) and HLOS (6 days [5, 8] vs 5 [4, 6]; p = 0.02) were both longer in the bowel preparation cohort. Complications (3 [13%] vs 5 [22%]; p = 0.12) and 90-day readmissions (3 [13%] vs 6 [16%]; p = 0.64) were similar in both cohorts.


Foregoing bowel preparation may have the potential to improve cost and reduce morbidity in children undergoing colostomy closure.

Level of evidence


Study type

Treatment study.

Visual abstract created by Alejandra M Casar Berazaluce, MD - Pediatric Surgery Research Fellow at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

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