Intestinal obstruction (pediatric) - series

Toggle: English / Spanish

Normal anatomy

The small intestine is basically a long tube through which digested food passes.

Normal anatomy

Indications, part 1

Intussusception is a common cause of bowel obstruction in children. It occurs when a segment of small bowel "telescopes" on itself, thus causing swelling, obstruction, and eventually intestinal gangrene.

Indications, part 1

Indications, part 2

Intussusception is suspected if the child has experienced sudden, severe abdominal pain, blood and mucous in the stool, and vomiting. Abdominal X-rays are usually taken to confirm the diagnosis. A barium enema may be used for diagnosis. Barium, a heavy, radio-opaque dye, is administered through the rectum, fills the bowel, and allows for visualization of the bowel by x-rays. This procedure is sometimes successful in correcting the problem- the weight of the barium itself in the bowel frequently reduces the telescoped bowel. If intussusception is diagnosed and not corrected by barium enema, surgery is necessary IMMEDIATELY to prevent complications such as obstruction, gangrenous bowel and peritonitis.

Indications, part 2

Incision

While the child is deep asleep and pain-free (using general anesthesia), an incision is made in the abdomen, usually in the midline. The bowel obstruction site is located, the obstruction is relieved, and the bowel is examined for injury. Injured sections are removed and the healthy ends of the bowel are either stitched together or brought out onto the abdomen temporarily (colostomy).

Incision

Aftercare

Generally, patients are able to go home within 5-10 days after surgery, depending on how long it takes the intestines to recover from the surgical procedure.

Aftercare

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 5/16/2012
  • Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Ann Rogers, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery; Director, Penn State Surgical Weight Loss Program, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch)

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

This page was last updated: April 14, 2014

         
Average rating (0)