Controversy still exists whether penetrating injuries of the right colon behave more favorably than those to the left. The importance of the issue rests in the operative management. This is a review of 50 cases of penetrating injuries of the right colon and 55 of the left treated at our institution from 1975 to 1980. The two patient groups were similar with respect to mechanism of injury, presence of shock at admission, degree of fecal contamination, severity of injury, and the percentage of cases with associated intra-abdominal injuries. The number of patients managed by primary repair or resection (52 vs. 45%), repair or resection with exteriorization (20 vs. 22%), and colostomy (28 vs. 33%) were also comparable in right versus left injuries. The treatment of right colon injuries resulted in 32% morbidity rate and 2% mortality rate, and that of left sided injuries 33% morbidity rate and 4% mortality rate. These findings indicate that, despite known anatomic and physiologic differences, penetrating trauma to the right and left colon should be managed similarly.
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