What is the role of barium enema in the workup of sigmoid and cecal volvulus?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018
  • Author: Scott C Thornton, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, AGAF  more...
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Answer

A contrast enema should be performed in patients who show no evidence of peritonitis and in whom plain abdominal radiographs are not diagnostic. The contrast study typically demonstrates a beaklike termination at the point of the sigmoid volvulus (see the image below). Similarly, a foldlike termination may be observed at the point of obstruction in the ascending colon in patients with cecal volvulus.

Barium enema of sigmoid volvulus revealing termina Barium enema of sigmoid volvulus revealing termination of contrast in bird's-beak formation at base of volvulus.

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