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One hundred sixteen patients with acute colorectal diseases, operated upon emergently and needing an intestinal stoma, were reviewed to determine the cost and morbidity of treatment of patients with colorectal trauma compared to other surgical illnesses. The first group (57 patients) had perforating colonic or rectal trauma, the second (30 patients) perforated colonic disease, the third (24 patients) nonperforated colonic disease, and the fourth (five patients) a colonic injury, unrecognized initially but requiring subsequent treatment with a stoma. For the initial operation, hospital stay, complications, mortality, and costs were less for patients in group 1 (colonic injury) than in groups 2 and 3 (inflammatory or neoplastic diseases). Colostomy closure, whatever the antecedent disease or injury, required an average ten-day hospitalization, had no mortality, a complication rate of 0 to 6 percent, and an average hospital cost of $6,500. The hospital stay and costs for the total treatment were slightly higher for nontraumatic illnesses, although the rate of colostomy closure was significantly less (68 and 77 percent versus 86 percent, P=.05).