Diagnostic laparoscopy and diverting sigmoid loop colostomy in the management of civilian extraperitoneal rectal gunshot injuries

Br J Surg. 2004 Apr;91(4):460-4. doi: 10.1002/bjs.4468.


Background: This prospective study reviews the management of isolated civilian extraperitoneal rectal gunshot injuries using a protocol of diagnostic laparoscopy and abdominal wall trephine diverting loop colostomy, without laparotomy, distal rectal washout and presacral drainage.

Methods: Patients admitted to the trauma unit at Groote Schuur Hospital between January 2000 and December 2002 with a rectal injury were evaluated. A rectal injury was confirmed by digital rectal examination and proctosigmoidoscopy. Missile peritoneal violation was excluded by diagnostic laparoscopy. Normal laparoscopy was followed by creation of a diverting sigmoid loop colostomy through an abdominal wall trephine, without a laparotomy. No distal rectal washout or presacral drainage was performed.

Results: Of the 104 patients admitted with 106 rectal injuries, 20 (19.2 per cent) qualified for inclusion in the study. All had sustained low-velocity gunshot injuries of which 18 exhibited a transpelvic trajectory. Diagnostic laparoscopy was normal and a trephine diverting loop sigmoid colostomy was performed in all 20 patients. No pelvic sepsis occurred. Two patients developed rectocutaneous fistulas, both of which resolved without surgical treatment. Nineteen stomas have since been closed.

Conclusion: Low-velocity gunshot injuries isolated to the extraperitoneal rectum can be managed safely by laparoscopic exclusion of intraperitoneal missile penetration and diverting sigmoid loop colostomy, without laparotomy, distal rectal washout or presacral drainage

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Colostomy / methods*
  • Cutaneous Fistula / complications
  • Cutaneous Fistula / surgery
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Fistula / complications
  • Rectal Fistula / surgery
  • Rectum / injuries*
  • Sigmoidoscopy / methods
  • Wounds, Gunshot / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Gunshot / surgery*