When is surgical care indicated in the treatment of small-bowel obstruction (SBO)?

Updated: Apr 28, 2017
  • Author: Mityanand Ramnarine, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM  more...
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Answer

A strangulated obstruction is a surgical emergency. In patients with a complete small-bowel obstruction (SBO), the risk of strangulation is high and early surgical intervention is warranted. Patients with simple complete obstructions in whom nonoperative trials fail also need surgical treatment but experience no apparent disadvantage to delayed surgery.


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