Pycnogenol(R) has excellent radical scavenging properties and enhances the production of antioxidative enzymes which contributes to the anti-inflammatory effect of the extract. Irradiation delivered to the abdominal region, typically results in severe damage to the intestinal mucosa. The effects of ionizing radiation are mediated by the formation of free radicals through radiolysis. Irradiation has local effects on tissues. These local effects of irradiation on the bowel are believed to involve a two-stage process which includes both short and long term components. In our study we aimed to investigate the short term effects of Pycnogenol(R) on the healing of colon anastomoses in irradiated bowel. Sixty male Wistar-Albino rats were used in this study. There were three groups: Group I, control group (n = 20); group II which received preoperative irradiation (n = 20); group III which received per oral Pycnogenol(R) before irradiation (n = 20). Only segmeter colonic resection and anastomosis was performed to the control group (Group I). The other groups (Group II, III) underwent surgery on the 5th day after pelvic irradiation. On postoperative days 3 and 7, half of the rats in each group were sacrificed and then relaparotomy was performed. There was no statistical difference between groups with respect to biochemical parameters. Bursting pressure was significantly higher in the Control and Group III compared with the Group II. In conclusion, the present study showed that preoperative irradiation effect negatively on colonic anastomoses in rats by means of mechanical parameters and administration of Pycnogenol(R) preoperatively ameliorates this unfavorable effect. (C) 2013 Surgical Associates Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.