Over the past 90 years, colorectal resection has been associated with a progressive increase in safety for what is still a major and frequently performed operation. It has often been stated that the wide use of antibiotics after World War II was associated with increasing survival after colon surgery [
]; as a matter of fact, the broad application and use of blood banks in the late 1930s [
- Poth E.J.
Historical development of intestinal antisepsis.
World J Surg. 1982; 6: 153-159
] and the improved care overall associated with the proliferation of intensive care units in the 1990s correlate better with those improvements. Although there are still outliers in institutional mortality rates in colon surgery, the mortality rate for a large number of voluntarily reporting university teaching and affiliated hospitals is just under 2% for elective operations. Interestingly, even after anastomotic leak, rescue by an early diagnosis and appropriate systemic management, often including diversion, is so much the rule that death rates are still low (Fig. 1) [
- Polk Jr., H.C.
The surgical treatment of carcinoma of the colon and rectum: its evolution in one university hospital.
Arch Surg. 1965; 91: 958-962
- Goldfarb M.A.
- Baker T.
An eight-year analysis of surgical morbidity and mortality: data and solutions.
Am Surg. 2006; 72: 1070-1081
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