Background The optimal timing of resection after decompression of left-sided obstructive colon cancer is unknown. Revised expert-based guideline recommendations have shifted from an interval of 5-10 days to approximately 2 weeks following self-expandable metal stent (SEMS) placement, and recommendations after decompressing stoma are lacking. We aimed to evaluate the recommended bridging intervals after SEMS and explore the timing of resection after decompressing stoma.
Methods This nationwide study included patients registered between 2009 and 2016 in the prospective, mandatory Dutch ColoRectal Audit. Additional data were collected through patient records in 75 hospitals. Only patients who underwent either SEMS placement or decompressing stoma as a bridge to surgery were selected. Technical SEMS failure and unsuccessful decompression within 48 hours were exclusion criteria.
Results 510 patients were included (182 SEMS, 328 decompressing stoma). Median bridging interval was 23 days (interquartile range [IQR] 13-31) for SEMS and 36 days (IQR 22-65) for decompressing stoma. Following SEMS placement, no significant differences in post-resection complications, hospital stay, or laparoscopic resections were observed with resection after 11-17 days compared with 5-10 days. Of SEMS-related complications, 48% occurred in patients operated on beyond 17 days. Compared with resection within 14 days, an interval of 14-28 days following decompressing stoma resulted in significantly more laparoscopic resections, more primary anastomoses, and shorter hospital stays. No impact of bridging interval on mortality, disease-free survival, or overall survival was demonstrated.
Conclusions Based on an overview of the data with balancing of surgical outcomes and timing of adverse events, a bridging interval of approximately 2 weeks seems appropriate after SEMS placement, while waiting 2-4 weeks after decompressing stoma further optimizes surgical conditions for laparoscopic resection with restoration of bowel continuity.