Diseased or injured limbs and joints respond to treatment most effectively when function is suspended and immobilization is effected. Physiologic rest alone is a valuable therapeutic agent because the organ involved can, so to speak, devote its entire energy to the business of getting well. Unfortunately, many organs, which would be benefited by the complete suspension of activity, are so vital to life that complete rest is an impossibility. "A half a loaf is better than no bread." When one cannot secure complete cessation of functional activity, a minimum of function must suffice. Fortunately, the colon can be completely excluded from functional activity, and in the treatment of various pathologic conditions which affect it, relief and cure can often be effected by a temporary interference with its activity.
Enterostomy and colostomy are both being utilized with increasing frequency for temporary purposes. The number of lives saved yearly by the employment