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Surg Today. 1998;28(9):937-9.

Spontaneous perforation of the rectum with possible stercoral etiology: report of a case and review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Maizuru Municipal Hospital, Kyoto, Japan.


Stercoral perforation of the colon or rectum is a rare cause of acute abdomen, with fewer than 70 cases documented in the literature. We report herein the case of a 60-year-old man who presented with anuria and epigastric pain with physical signs of peritonitis. An abdominal X-ray showed bilateral subphrenic free air accumulation, and an emergency laparotomy subsequently revealed perforation of the rectum, suggestive of a stercoral cause, which was treated by simple closure after debridement. Following an uneventful postoperative course, he was discharged from the hospital 3 weeks after his operation and is now doing well without having suffered any further gastrointestinal problems. The clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease are reviewed following the presentation of this case. Surgeons should be aware of the possibility of this fatal disease, despite its rare incidence. Furthermore, it is important to recognize the condition at an early stage because it has a significantly high mortality if not treated early. Conversely, the surgical outcome is satisfactory provided surgery is performed in due time.

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