Knowledge of the anatomy and an understanding of the physiology of an organ are basic to an awareness of the diseases of that organ, and underlie a successful approach to their diagnosis and treatment. Several misconceptions about the structure and function of the large bowel have become commonplace, and new surgical techniques have produced unnatural structures with poorly understood functions. This chapter reviews the basic anatomy and physiology of the large bowel including anus, rectum, and colon. Areas of common misunderstanding will be pointed out, and emphasis will also be given to important clinical applications.
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