Are there differences in outcome after elective sigmoidectomy for diverticular disease and for cancer? A national inpatient study

M. I M Ilyas, B. Zangbar, Valentine N Nfonsam, F. A. Maegawa, Bellal A Joseph, J. A. Patel, S. D. Wexner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Aim: The postoperative outcome after elective sigmoidectomy for diverticulitis has not been compared to that for cancer. The study aimed to evaluate the differences in the postoperative outcome after sigmoidectomy for diverticular disease and cancer. Method: The National Inpatient Sample Database was used to identify patients who underwent elective sigmoid resection for diverticular disease or cancer between 2004 and 2011. After excluding patients with metastatic cancer and preoperative weight loss, sigmoid cancer and diverticulitis patients were matched using propensity score, controlling for age, gender, race, type of operation (open vs laparoscopic) and comorbidities. The end-points of interest were infective complications, reoperation, anastomotic leakage, rebleeding, length of hospital stay and in-hospital mortality. Results: After propensity score matching (diverticulitis 11 192 patients, sigmoid cancer 11 192 patients), the mean age was 65 ± 12.5 years, 53.8% were male and 61.5% were Caucasian. Only 18.0% of the operations were done by laparoscopy. The overall complication rate was 17.7% and the in-hospital mortality rate was 0.9%. The diverticulitis group had a higher rate of surgical site infection (3.2% vs 2.6%, P = 0.004), intra-abdominal abscess formation (1.2% vs 0.4%, P < 0.0001) and reoperation (6.1% vs 4.1%, P < 0.0001) compared with the cancer group. The cancer group had a higher incidence of pneumonia (1.9% vs 1.5%, P = 0.01) and anastomotic leakage (9.2% vs 8.3%, P = 0.001). There was no difference in sepsis, deep vein thrombosis, respiratory failure, renal failure, rebleeding, overall complication rate or length of hospital stay. Subgroup analysis showed a higher in-hospital mortality for cancer than for diverticulitis patients whether resected by open or by laparoscopic surgery. Conclusion: Although elective sigmoidectomy for diverticular disease has a higher risk of infective complications, elective sigmoidectomy for cancer has a higher risk of anastomotic leakage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-265
Number of pages6
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Sigmoidectomy
  • colon cancer
  • colorectal surgery
  • diverticulitis
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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