An anastomosis is a surgical connection between two structures. It usually means a connection that is created between tubular structures, such as blood vessels or loops of intestine.
For example, when part of an intestine is surgically removed, the two remaining ends are sewn or stapled together (anastomosed), and the procedure is referred to as an intestinal anastomosis.
Examples of surgical anastomoses are
A pathological (caused by disease) anastomosis can result from trauma or infection and may involve veins, arteries, or intestines. These are usually referred to as fistulas.
Traumatic fistulas usually occur between an artery and vein. Traumatic intestinal fistulas usually occur in two ways:
- Between two loops of intestine (enteroenteric fistula)
- Between intestine and skin (enterocutaneous fistula)
Review Date: 08/08/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.