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J Trauma. 1999 Feb;46(2):250-4.

Colonic resection in trauma: colostomy versus anastomosis.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, USA.



The management of colonic trauma is well established for simple injuries with primary repair, and ileocolostomy for right-sided injuries that undergo colonic resection. Segmental colon resection for injuries to the left colon can be managed with either an end colostomy or primary anastomosis. A retrospective review was performed to evaluate the outcome and complications associated with colonic resection for trauma to determine the risk factors associated with anastomotic leakage.


A retrospective review included patients undergoing colonic resection for trauma. The patients were stratified into colostomy, ileocolostomy, and colocolostomy groups. Patient demographics and colon-related complications were collected. Comparison between the colostomy and colocolostomy groups was performed to determine the difference in outcome. The outcome of right-sided colon injuries managed by either an ileocolonic or colocolonic anastomosis was compared. Analysis was performed to identify the factors associated with an increased risk of anastomotic leakage.


One hundred forty patients over a 66-month period were included in the analysis. Overall, 41% (57 of 140) of patients developed a colon-related complication; 28% (39 of 140) of patients developed an abscess. Overall, the anastomotic leak rate was 13% (7 of 56) in the colocolostomy group, 4% (2 of 56) in the ileocolostomy group. Right-sided colon injuries managed with a colocolonic anastomosis had a higher incidence of anastomotic leakage than ileocolonic anastomosis, i.e., 14 versus 4% respectively. Of the seven patients who developed a leak from a colocolonic anastomosis, two patients died (29%). Univariate analysis identified an Abdominal Trauma Index Score > or = 25 (p = 0.03) or hypotension in the emergency department (p = 0.001) to be associated with increased risk of developing an anastomotic leak from a colocolonic anastomosis.


Colonic injuries that are managed with resection are associated with a high complication rate regardless of whether an anastomosis or colostomy is performed. Colonic resection and anastomosis can be performed safely in the majority of patients with severe colonic injury, including injuries to the left colon. For injuries of the right colon, an ileocolostomy has a lower incidence of leakage than a colocolonic anastomosis. For injuries to the left colon, there remains a role for colostomy specifically in the subgroups of patients with a high ATI or hypotension, because these patients are at greater risk for an anastomotic leak. The role of resection and primary anastomosis versus colostomy in colonic trauma requires further investigation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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