Motor function of the colon is essential for health. Our current understanding of the mechanisms that underlie colonic motility are based upon a range of experimental techniques, including molecular biology, single cell studies, recordings from muscle strips, analysis of part or whole organ ex vivo through to in vivo human recordings. For the surgeon involved in the clinical management of colonic conditions this amounts to a formidable volume of material. Here, we synthesize the key findings from these various experimental approaches so that surgeons can be better armed to deal with the complexities of the colon.
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