Penetrating colon injuries requiring resection: diversion or primary anastomosis? An AAST prospective multicenter study

J Trauma. 2001 May;50(5):765-75. doi: 10.1097/00005373-200105000-00001.


Background: The management of colon injuries that require resection is an unresolved issue because the existing practices are derived mainly from class III evidence. Because of the inability of any single trauma center to accumulate enough cases for meaningful statistical analysis, a multicenter prospective study was performed to compare primary anastomosis with diversion and identify the risk factors for colon-related abdominal complications.

Methods: This was a prospective study from 19 trauma centers and included patients with colon resection because of penetrating trauma, who survived at least 72 hours. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to compare outcomes in patients with primary anastomosis or diversion and identify independent risk factors for the development of abdominal complications.

Results: Two hundred ninety-seven patients fulfilled the criteria for inclusion and analysis. Overall, 197 patients (66.3%) were managed by primary anastomosis and 100 (33.7%) by diversion. The overall colon-related mortality was 1.3% (four deaths in the diversion group, no deaths in the primary anastomosis group, p = 0.012). Colon-related abdominal complications occurred in 24% of all patients (primary repair, 22%; diversion, 27%; p = 0.373). Multivariate analysis including all potential risk factors with p values < 0.2 identified three independent risk factors for abdominal complications: severe fecal contamination, transfusion of > or = 4 units of blood within the first 24 hours, and single-agent antibiotic prophylaxis. The type of colon management was not found to be a risk factor. Comparison of primary anastomosis with diversion using multivariate analysis adjusting for the above three identified risk factors or the risk factors previously described in the literature (shock at admission, delay > 6 hours to operating room, penetrating abdominal trauma index > 25, severe fecal contamination, and transfusion of > 6 units blood) showed no statistically significant difference in outcome. Similarly, multivariate analysis and comparison of the two methods of colon management in high-risk patients showed no difference in outcome.

Conclusion: The surgical method of colon management after resection for penetrating trauma does not affect the incidence of abdominal complications, irrespective of associated risk factors. Severe fecal contamination, transfusion of > or = 4 units of blood within the first 24 hours, and single-agent antibiotic prophylaxis are independent risk factors for abdominal complications. In view of these findings, the reduced quality of life, and the need for a subsequent operation in colostomy patients, primary anastomosis should be considered in all such patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Colectomy / methods*
  • Colon / injuries*
  • Colon / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds, Penetrating / surgery*