Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

Colon Trauma

Colon Trauma is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:

Emergency Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Trauma that perforates the colon inflames the cavity in which it lies.
  • Peritoneal inflammation from hollow viscus perforation often requires hours to develop.
  • Mesenteric tears from blunt trauma cause hemorrhage and bowel ischemia.
  • Delayed perforation from ischemic or necrotic bowel may occur.
  • Peritonitis and sepsis may develop from the extravasated intraluminal flora.
  • Ascending and descending colon segments are retroperitoneal.
  • The left colon has a higher bacterial load than the right.
  • Morbidity and mortality increase if the diagnosis of colon injury is delayed.


  • Penetrating abdominal trauma:
    • The colon is the 2nd most commonly injured organ in penetrating trauma.
    • Gunshot wounds have the highest incidence.
    • Transverse colon is most commonly injured.
    • Often presents with peritonitis
  • Blunt abdominal trauma:
    • Colon rarely injured in blunt trauma
    • Burst injury occurs from compression of a closed loop of bowel.
    • Intestine may be squeezed between a blunt object (lap belt) and vertebral column or bony pelvis.
    • Sudden deceleration may produce bowel–mesenteric disruption and consequent devascularization.
    • With deceleration, the sigmoid and transverse colon are most vulnerable.
  • Transanal injury:
    • Iatrogenic endoscopic or barium enema injury
    • Foreign bodies used during sexual activities may reach and injure the colon.
    • Compressed air under high pressure such as at automobile repair facilities can perforate the colon even if the compressor nozzle is not fully inserted anally.
    • Swallowed sharp foreign bodies (toothpick) may penetrate the colon, particularly the cecum, appendix, and sigmoid:
      • Most foreign bodies pass without complications.

Pediatric Considerations
Unlike adults, children have an equal frequency of blunt and penetrating colon injuries.

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Colon Trauma." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307188/all/Colon_Trauma.
Colon Trauma. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307188/all/Colon_Trauma. Accessed April 25, 2019.
Colon Trauma. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307188/all/Colon_Trauma
Colon Trauma [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 25]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307188/all/Colon_Trauma.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Colon Trauma ID - 307188 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307188/all/Colon_Trauma PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -