• To evaluate the management of colonic injuries, experimental models simulating acute injuries of the colon were studied utilizing New Zealand white rabbits. Seventy-nine rabbits underwent primary repair of colonic injuries in the presence of massive contamination and none showed any evidence of anastomotic leakage or breakdown. The fact that primary colonic repairs do heal even in the presence of infection suggests that breakdown of colonic anastomosis results from factors other than infection.
Despite the absence of anastomotic leaks in this series, morbidity and mortality were high in those animals not given antibiotics. The high morbidity and mortality were due to peritonitis, intra-abdominal abscess, and wound infection, and were directly proportional to the length of time from colonic injury to repair. On the basis of this study, it is concluded that most isolated injuries of the colon can be closed primarily, if antibiotic therapy is begun immediately after injury and is continued throughout the operative and postoperative periods.
(Arch Surg 111:78-80, 1976)