March 1973

Postoperative Intussusception

Arch Surg. 1973;106(3):261. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350150001001

Drs. Cox and Martin have, in this issue of the Archives, focused attention on a complication that occurs after major abdominal surgical procedures and is apparently peculiar to infants and young children. It was first recognized as a distinct entity by Hays in 1961. As with the more common ileocolic intussusception in children, a mechanical lead point is unusual. The insidious onset of this form of intussusception makes it difficult to recognize clinically, since abdominal pain, an abdominal mass, and rectal bleeding usually are absent. The characteristic location of postoperative intussusception in the mid small intestine accounts for the fact that roentgenographic studies of the colon seldom are of value, and contrast studies of the upper intestinal tract often will be negative and may lead to fatal delay in therapy. Reduction of postoperative intussusception nonoperatively is, therefore, rarely feasible.

It is of interest that each of the 16 patients in

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