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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1990 Jun;71(7):514-8.

Colostomy as treatment for complications of spinal cord injury.

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General Surgery Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304.


We reviewed our experience with colostomy performed in 20 spinal cord injury (SCI) patients to determine the effectiveness and safety of colostomy when it is performed for a late complication of SCI. Objective evaluation of gastrointestinal function, ie, colonic transit time and anorectal manometry, was performed in six patients with chronic gastrointestinal complaints to identify the site and severity of bowel dysfunction. Twelve patients had colostomy performed for chronic gastrointestinal problems, seven as an adjunct in the treatment of perineal pressure ulcers, and one for rectal cancer. When patients with difficult bowel evacuation or incontinence were considered, colostomy reliably simplified bowel care, relieved abdominal distention, and prevented fecal incontinence. The amount of time spent on bowel care decreased from an average of 98.6 min/day to 17.8 min/day (p less than .05) after colostomy. When performed as an adjunct in the treatment of pressure ulcers, colostomy provided a dry, clean environment, and seven of seven ulcers healed. Colostomy was well accepted by all patients; all patients with chronic gastrointestinal complaints reported that colostomy improved the quality of their lives. Objective testing differentiated between failure of the colon to adequately transport material to the rectum and inability to adequately evacuate the rectum. Testing was useful in choosing the level at which a colostomy was created, and, in one instance, it identified a specific syndrome (ischemic proctitis) which required colostomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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