Traumatic injury of the colon and rectum: the evidence vs dogma

Dis Colon Rectum. 2011 Sep;54(9):1184-201. doi: 10.1007/DCR.0b013e3182188a60.


Background: The treatment of traumatic injuries to the colon and rectum is often driven by dogma, despite the presence of evidence suggesting alternative methods of care.

Objective: This is an evidence-based review, in the format of a review article, to determine the ideal treatment of noniatrogenic traumatic injuries to the colon and rectum to improve the care provided to this group of patients. Recommendations and treatment algorithms were based on consensus conclusions of the data.

Data sources: A search of MEDLINE, PubMed, and the Cochrane Database of Collected Reviews was performed from 1965 through December 2010.

Study selection: Authors independently reviewed selected abstracts to determine their scientific merit and relevance based on key-word combinations regarding colorectal trauma. A directed search of the embedded references from the primary articles was also performed in select circumstances. We then performed a complete evaluation of 108 articles and 3 additional abstracts.

Main outcome measures: The main outcomes were morbidity, mortality, and colostomy rates.

Results: Evidence-based recommendations and algorithms are presented for the management of traumatic colorectal injuries.

Limitations: Level I and II evidence was limited.

Conclusions: Colorectal injuries remain a challenging clinical entity associated with significant morbidity. Familiarity with the different methods to approach and manage these injuries, including "damage control" tactics when necessary, will allow surgeons to minimize unnecessary complications and mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Colon / injuries*
  • Colon / surgery*
  • Colorectal Surgery / methods*
  • Colostomy
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Military Personnel*
  • Rectum / injuries*
  • Rectum / surgery*
  • Risk Factors