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Br J Surg. 1990 Dec;77(12):1325-9.

Stercoral perforation of the colon.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.


Stercoral perforation of the colon is rare. The 64 reported cases are reviewed to define the syndrome of stercoral perforation, and to facilitate accurate diagnosis and treatment. Features of localized or generalized peritonitis were universal; however, only 11 per cent were correctly diagnosed before operation. Recognition that the disease involves a segment of colon rather than only the focal point of perforation is essential to adequate surgical treatment. It is postulated that this is the reason for the higher postoperative mortality following closure of the perforation and proximal colostomy (57 per cent) or exteriorization alone (43 per cent), compared with resection of the diseased segment and exteriorization (32 per cent). Resection and exteriorization is therefore the treatment of choice is most situations.

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