BACKGROUND : Stoma rods are used traditionally to prevent retraction of loop stomas into the abdominal cavity. However, there is very little evidence to support or refute their use. The aim of the present systematic review and metaanalysis was to assess the current data on stoma rods in loop stomas. The primary outcomes were stoma necrosis and stoma retraction. METHODS : A systematic review and metaanalyses were conducted using the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and metaanalysis guidelines (PRISMA). The study protocol was registered prospectively on PROSPERO. An electronic search was performed by two reviewers independently using predefined search strategy and Medline. Bibliographies of selected studies were screened for additional references. RevMan was used to generate forest plots and calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS : In total, five studies were identified that met inclusion criteria, including four randomized controlled trials. Three studies examined only ileostomies, while one included both colostomies and ileostomies, and one only examined colostomies. In total, 561 patients underwent a stoma with a rod compared to 443 without. There was a higher rate of dermatitis (rod 29.86% vs no rod 16% OR 2.65; 95% CI 1.79-3.93) and stoma necrosis (rod 7% vs no rod 1.15% OR 5.58; 95% CI 1.85-16.84) in the rod group, but there was no significant difference in stoma retraction (rod 2.28% vs no rod 3.45%; OR 0.7; 95% CI 0.32-1.54). CONCLUSIONS : Stoma rods do not reduce the incidence of stoma retraction and instead lead to increased rates of dermatitis and stoma necrosis.