What frequently is bowel obstruction the cause of abdominal pain in elderly persons?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: E David Bryan, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Small bowel obstruction most often is caused by adhesions from previous surgery. In elderly patients, an incarcerated hernia, as shown below, causes approximately 30% of cases, and approximately 20% are caused by gallstone ileus.

CT scan of a 64-year-old woman with vague abdomina CT scan of a 64-year-old woman with vague abdominal pain of 2 days' duration. Physical examination revealed a tender palpable mass in the left lower quadrant. CT scan reveals an incarcerated ventral hernia.

Large bowel obstruction is most often caused by malignancy or volvulus.

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