Ballian N, Zarebczan B, Munoz A, Harms B, Heise CP, Foley EF, Kennedy GD.

J Gastrointest Surg. 2009 Dec;13(12):2260-7. doi: 10.1007/s11605-009-0987-3. Epub 2009 Sep 2.

Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, G4/701 Clinical Science Center, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792-7375, USA.



Reversal of Hartmann’s is a common surgical procedure. Routine preoperative evaluation of the distal colonic/rectal remnant (DCRR) with contrast and/or endoscopic studies is frequently performed despite lack of evidence to support this practice. We hypothesize that asymptomatic patients can safely undergo Hartmann’s reversal without preoperative DCRR evaluation.


Adult patients undergoing reversal of Hartmann’s at a single institution were retrospectively identified. Operative characteristics and outcomes in patients with and without preoperative DCRR evaluation were compared.


Between 1993 and 2008, 203 patients underwent reversal of Hartmann’s at a tertiary referral center. Sixty-eight patients (33%) did not undergo preoperative DCRR evaluation and had comparable demographic characteristics, comorbidities, DCRR length, and perioperative outcomes to 135 patients who underwent preoperative contrast and/or endoscopic studies. After evaluation, 125 (93%) patients had normal findings, seven (5%) patients had abnormal studies that did not impact their management, and three (2%) patients underwent additional procedures.


Hartmann’s reversal without previous DCRR evaluation is acceptable in selected asymptomatic patients, without increased risk of complications.

PMID: 19727977 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]