PURPOSE: Traumatic injury to the intestine and its vasculature is a potential cause of short bowel syndrome (SBS). Our aim was to determine the incidence and mechanisms of traumatic injury to the bowel resulting in massive resection. METHODS: We reviewed the records of 196 adult patients evaluated with SBS over a 23-year period. RESULTS: Sixteen (8%) patients had SBS secondary to traumatic injury. Injury to the intestinal blood supply accounted for 81% (n = 13), and direct injury to the bowel wall accounted for the remaining 19% (n = 3). Nineteen associated injuries were present in 11 (67%) patients. CONCLUSION: Traumatic injury to the abdomen accounts for a small proportion of patients with SBS. These patients often have other associated injuries which might influence their outcome. Early diagnosis of vascular injury, use of second look procedures, appropriate resuscitation, and avoidance of all unnecessary resections may aid in prevention of this serious complication.
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