Endoscopic treatment of chronic radiation proctopathy

Sydney A. Wilson, Douglas K. Rex

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

35 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Chronic radiation proctopathy is a complication of pelvic radiation therapy. The acute phase of radiation injury to the rectum occurs during or up to 3 months following radiation. Acute radiation injury can continue into a chronic phase or chronic radiation proctopathy may develop after a latent period of several months or years. Symptoms associated with the condition include diarrhea, rectal pain, bleeding, tenesmus, and stricture formation. Of the various symptoms, only bleeding from radiation-induced telangiectasias is amenable to endoscopic therapy. This paper summarizes the findings of experts in the field on endoscopic treatment of bleeding from chronic radiation proctopathy. RECENT FINDINGS: Medical management is generally ineffective in controlling bleeding from chronic radiation proctopathy. Surgical intervention has a high incidence of morbidity. Promising advances have been made in endoscopic therapy, including formalin, neodymium/yttrium aluminum garnet, argon and potassium titanyl phosphate laser treatments, as well as argon plasma coagulation. Argon plasma coagulation presents an effective, efficient, inexpensive and reasonably safe noncontact method for destruction of radiation telangiectasias. SUMMARY: Based on currently available data and trends, argon plasma coagulation is the favored treatment for bleeding from chronic radiation proctopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-540
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Gastroenterology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • Argon
  • Proctocolitis
  • Radiation injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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