What is intussusception?

Updated: Dec 20, 2018
  • Author: A Alfred Chahine, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

Intussusception is a process in which a segment of intestine invaginates into the adjoining intestinal lumen, causing bowel obstruction. A common cause of abdominal pain in children, intussusception is suggested readily in pediatric practice based on a classic triad of signs and symptoms: vomiting, abdominal pain, and passage of blood per rectum. (See History and Physical Examination.)

Intussusception presents in 2 variants: idiopathic intussusception, which usually starts at the ileocolic junction and affects infants and toddlers, and enteroenteral intussusception (jejunojejunal, jejunoileal, ileoileal), which occurs in older children. The latter is associated with special medical situations (eg, Henoch-Schönlein purpura [HSP], cystic fibrosis, hematologic dyscrasias) or may be secondary to a lead point and occasionally occur in the postoperative period. Intussusception is demonstrated in the images below. (See Etiology and Pathophysiology.)

Abdominal radiograph shows small bowel dilatation Abdominal radiograph shows small bowel dilatation and paucity of gas in the right lower and upper quadrants.
Air contrast enema shows intussusception in the ce Air contrast enema shows intussusception in the cecum.
Barium enema shows intussusception in the descendi Barium enema shows intussusception in the descending colon.
CT scan reveals the classic ying-yang sign of an i CT scan reveals the classic ying-yang sign of an intussusceptum inside an intussuscipiens.
Abdominal ultrasonography reveals the classic targ Abdominal ultrasonography reveals the classic target sign of an intussusceptum inside an intussuscipiens.
Laparoscopic view of a jejuno-jejunal intussuscept Laparoscopic view of a jejuno-jejunal intussusception.

Go to Pediatric Intussusception Surgery for complete information on this topic.


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