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:
Arteriovenous fistula (an opening created between an artery and vein) for dialysis
Colostomy (an opening created between the bowel and the abdomen)
Anastomosis can be caused by injury or infection. It may involve veins, arteries, or intestines. These are usually called fistulas.
Traumatic fistulas usually occur between an artery and vein. Traumatic intestinal fistulas usually occur in one of two ways:
Between two loops of intestine (enteroenteric fistula)
Between the intestine and skin (enterocutaneous fistula)
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.