In a retrospective series of 95 patients requiring emergency surgery for distal colonic obstruction, primary bowel resection followed by immediate anastomosis after intraoperative colonic irrigation was performed. Carcinoma was the cause of obstruction in 81 cases (85%); 13 patients had diverticulitis, and 1 had sigmoid volvulus. The technique of on-table lavage was similar to that described by Dudley in 1980: a caecostomy tube was used in 86 patients (90%) and was removed on the tenth postoperative day. 4 patients died, none from complications of anastomotic leakage. There were three anastomotic leakages (3.1%) and 10 radiologic leaks were observed. 3 patients were reoperated. The mean hospital stay was 23 days. The results of this study suggest that intraoperative colonic irrigation is an effective method, enabling the surgeon to perform primary anastomosis with reasonable safety after emergency resection of selected distal colonic lesions.