When is abdominal CT scanning or lower GI endoscopy indicated in the workup of constipation?

Updated: Jul 04, 2019
  • Author: Marc D Basson, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Abdominal computed tomography (CT) may be indicated to further evaluate the possibility of an intra-abdominal abscess. Acute constipation in the setting of an empty rectal vault and a proximal colon that is dilated with air or stool suggests large bowel obstruction, which should be further evaluated via Gastrografin (diatrizoate meglumine–diatrizoate sodium solution) enema or lower GI endoscopy (see below). Gastrografin enema has the advantage of acting as an osmotic laxative, which may aid in the evacuation of the colonic contents.


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