Adhesion-related small bowel obstruction

Colorectal Disease : the Official Journal of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland
B J Moran

Abstract

Postoperative adhesions are the commonest cause of small bowel obstruction (SBO), a frequent surgical emergency. Adhesion obstruction is potentially lethal and a crucial aspect in management is to differentiate whether there is actual, or impending, small bowel ischaemia and therefore a need for emergency surgery. There are no completely accurate imaging or haematological techniques to exclude the requirement for surgery. Modern computerized tomography (CT) has been a significant advance in noninvasive assessment of SBO and may demonstrate the cause of the obstruction and suggest the presence of bowel ischaemia. It is important to note that adhesions may not be the cause of SBO in a patient who has had abdominal surgery. Recurrent cancer, an obstructive colon lesion in the presence of an incompetent ileocaecal valve, an occult hernia, small bowel arterial or venous ischaemia, amongst others may be the cause and CT may elucidate some of these causes and help plan management. Increasing utilization of laparoscopic surgery may reduce the extent and incidence of adhesions and laparoscopic adhesiolysis, in experienced hands, may be successful in managing acute obstruction or alternatively as a planned procedure when the obstruction ...Continue Reading

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