AskDefine | Define anastomosis

Dictionary Definition

anastomosis n : a natural or surgical joining of parts or branches of tubular structures so as to make or become continuous [syn: inosculation] [also: anastomoses (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



Greek αναστομωσις, from αναστομουν ‘furnish with a mouth or outlet’, from ανα- ‘up, back, again, anew’ + στομα ‘mouth’.


IPA: /ənæstə'məʊsɪs/


  1. a cross-connection between two blood-vessels
  2. an interconnection between any two channels, passages or vessels
    • 1922: (...) our grandam, which we are linked up with by successive anastomosis of navelcords sold us all, seed, breed and generation, for a penny pippin. (Joyce, Ulysses)
  3. the surgical creation of a connecting passage between blood-vessels or other channels

Extensive Definition

An anastomosis (plural anastomoses, from gr. ἀναστόμωσις, communicating opening) is a network of streams that both branch out and reconnect, such as blood vessels or leaf veins. The term is used in medicine, biology, and geology.


Anastomosis is the connection of two structures. It refers to connections between blood vessels or between other tubular structures such as loops of intestine. In circulatory anastomosis, many arteries naturally anastomose with each other, for example the inferior epigastric artery and superior epigastric artery. Surgical anastomosis occurs when a segment of intestine is resected and the two remaining ends are sewn or stapled together (anastomosed), for example Roux-en-Y anastomosis. The procedure is referred to as intestinal anastomosis.
Pathological anastomosis results from trauma or disease and may involve veins, arteries, or intestines. These are usually referred to as fistulas. In the cases of veins or arteries, traumatic fistulas usually occur between artery and vein. Traumatic intestinal fistulas usually occur between two loops of intestine (enetero-enteric fistula) or intestine and skin (enterocutaneous fistula). Portacaval anastomosis, by contrast, is an anastomosis between a vein of the portal circulation and a vein of the systemic circulation, which allows blood to bypass the liver in patients with portal hypertension, often resulting in hemorrhoids, esophageal varices, or caput medusae.


In evolution, anastomosis is a recombination of evolutionary lineage. Conventional accounts of evolutionary lineage present themselves as the simple branching out of species into novel forms. Under anastomosis, species might recombine after initial branching out, such as in the case of recent research which shows that humans and chimpanzees may have interbred after an initial branching out. The concept of anastomosis also applies to the theory of symbiogenesis, in which new species emerge from the formation of novel symbiotic relationships.


In geology, anastomosis refers to quartz (or other) veins displaying this property, which is often related to shearing in metamorphic regions. There is also a type of stream called anastomosing, which consists of a wide strath and multiple thalwegs divided by vegetated stabilized islands within subparallel banks.


anastomosis in Catalan: Anastomosi
anastomosis in German: Anastomose
anastomosis in Spanish: Anastomosis
anastomosis in French: Anastomose (biologie)
anastomosis in Italian: Anastomosi
anastomosis in Polish: Anastomoza (naczynie)
anastomosis in Portuguese: Anastomose
anastomosis in Russian: Анастомозы
anastomosis in Swedish: Anastomos
anastomosis in Chinese: 吻合
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