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Treating a Twisting Bowel Obstruction

Topic Overview

Doctors have several options for treating a bowel obstruction caused by twisting of the intestine. The choice of procedure depends on the location of the obstruction.

If the obstruction is caused by a twisting of the sigmoid area of the large intestine, a doctor may try to straighten out the twisting segment with lighted instruments (such as a proctoscope or sigmoidoscope) or a barium enema. But surgery is sometimes needed to fix twisting of the intestine. Twisting of the sigmoid colon recurs in 25 to 50 out of 100 cases after nonsurgical treatments.1

Treatment is less defined for an obstruction caused by twisting of the cecum of the large intestine. Doctors may try several treatments. The blocked section can be removed and the ends reattached. In another type of surgery, the cecum can be attached to the abdominal (belly) wall so that it won't twist (cecopexy). A third option is to place a tube into the cecum (cecostomy) through a small incision in the abdomen. This procedure often is done for people who are not strong enough to have the other surgeries.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Turnage RH, Heldmann M (2010). Intestinal obstruction. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 9th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2105–2120. Philadelphia: Saunders.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Last Revised April 29, 2013

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