Gunshot wounds of the colon. A review of 100 consecutive patients, with emphasis on complications and their causes

Am J Surg. 1976 Feb;131(2):213-8. doi: 10.1016/0002-9610(76)90100-8.


The cases of one hundred civilian patients with gunshot wounds of the colon treated at the Louisville General Hospital have been reviewed. Most injuries were in the transverse colon (44%), followed by the ascending colon (27%), rectosigmoid (19%), and descending colon (10%). Associated injuries occurred in 81 per cent of the patients; the small bowel was the most common structure injured. Primary closure was used in 52% of the patients, with a resultant 19% rate of wound infection and 14% rate of serious complication. When the extent of contamination or tissue destruction required resection, an attempted primary anastomosis was followed by a high rate of wound infection (57%) and serious complications (36%) as compared with end-colostomy and mucous fistula, which resulted in a 24% rate of wound infection and 24% rate of serious complication. The rate of wound infection between these groups is significant (p = 0.05). Results end-colostomy and mucous fistula were better than with attempted primary anastomosis.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Colectomy / adverse effects
  • Colon / injuries*
  • Colostomy / adverse effects
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Ileostomy / adverse effects
  • Intestinal Fistula / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Rectum / injuries
  • Subphrenic Abscess / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Wounds, Gunshot / complications*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality
  • Wounds, Gunshot / surgery