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Dis Colon Rectum. 1991 Oct;34(10):865-9.

Surgical management of intestinal radiation injury.

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University Department of Surgery, Bristol Royal Infirmary, United Kingdom.


The management of 14 cases of radiation injury to the intestinal tract over a 4-year period is evaluated. The longest latent interval between radiation treatment and symptoms was 30 years. Eight patients were treated surgically; six were treated conservatively by laser therapy or application of formalin to the affected mucosa. The indications for surgery were rectovaginal fistula (four), rectal stricture (one), radiation proctitis (eight), and small bowel obstruction (one). Seven patients underwent large bowel resection. These consisted of four anastomoses with coloanal J-reservoirs, two low anterior resections, and one coloanal anastomosis without reservoir. There was no perioperative mortality. Morbidity occurred in one of the eight surgical cases. Radical resection of the radiation-damaged rectum has been shown to be a safe and reliable treatment for rectovaginal fistulas, rectal strictures, and proctitis unresponsive to medical measures. Coloanal J-reservoir is the procedure of choice to avoid urgency and frequency symptoms associated with coloanal sleeve anastomosis. Laser therapy for hemorrhagic proctitis can achieve an important place in the management of this problem without recourse to surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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