Surgical Management of Ulcerative Colitis in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review from the APSA Outcomes and Evidence-Based Practice Committee.

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INTRODUCTION: The incidence of ulcerative colitis (UC) is increasing. Roughly 20% of all patients with UC are diagnosed in childhood, and children typically present with more severe disease. Approximately 40% will undergo total colectomy within ten years of diagnosis. The objective of this study is to assess the available evidence regarding the surgical management of pediatric UC as determined by the consensus agreement of the American Pediatric Surgical Association Outcomes and Evidence-Based Practice Committee (APSA OEBP).

METHODS: Through an iterative process, the membership of the APSA OEBP developed five a priori questions focused on surgical decision-making for children with UC. Questions focused on surgical timing, reconstruction, use of minimally invasive techniques, need for diversion, and risks to fertility and sexual function. A systematic review was conducted, and articles were selected for review following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Risk of Bias was assessed using Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINORS) criteria. The Oxford Levels of Evidence and Grades of Recommendation were utilized.

RESULTS: A total of 69 studies were included for analysis. Most manuscripts contain level 3 or 4 evidence from single-center retrospective reports, leading to a grade D recommendation. MINORS assessment revealed a high risk of bias in most studies. J-pouch reconstruction may result in fewer daily stools than straight ileoanal anastomosis. There are no differences in complications based on the type of reconstruction. The timing of surgery should be individualized to patients and does not affect complications. Immunosuppressants do not appear to increase surgical site infection rates. Laparoscopic approaches result in longer operative times but shorter lengths of stay and fewer small bowel obstructions. Overall, complications are not different using an open or minimally invasive approach.

CONCLUSIONS: There is currently low-level evidence related to certain aspects of surgical management for UC, including timing, reconstruction type, use of minimally invasive techniques, need for diversion, and risks to fertility and sexual function. Multicenter, prospective studies are recommended to better answer these questions and ensure the best evidence-based care for our patients.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level of evidence III.

STUDY TYPE: Systematic review.

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Journal of pediatric surgery





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