Current choices of operation for left-sided large bowel emergencies have been established by a questionnaire sent to 218 consultant surgeons asking which operation they would perform under varying circumstances for obstructing sigmoid carcinoma and diverticular disease. A 92% response rate was obtained. Hartmann's procedure (with or without a mucus fistula) is the most popular operation for all conditions. Sigmoid colectomy with primary anastomosis is performed by 40% of surgeons for obstructing carcinomas, but less commonly in other situations. On-table lavage is rarely used, and the majority of anastomoses are not protected by a proximal stoma. Subtotal colectomy is very seldom employed, except when caecal perforation results from an obstructing carcinoma. Some surgeons perform a defunctioning colostomy alone even in the presence of a perforation
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