Pediatric Intestinal Malrotation and Volvulus

Pediatric Intestinal Malrotation and Volvulus

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Summary

During fetal development, the bowels develop and grow outside the abdomen through an enlarged opening at the base of the umbilical cord.  Over time, the intestines slowly retract into the abdomen and become fixed in the usual position through a process called rotation. 

If the intestines don’t rotate back into the abdomen properly (ie, malrotation) the baby is at risk for a delayed and unpredictable twisting of the bowels (volvulus), intestinal obstruction and intestine damage.  In its worst form, a volvulus can stop oxygen from getting to the intestine and the intestine may die. 

Treatment

To prevent a volvulus in a baby with intestinal malrotation, we perform an operation called Ladd’s Procedure.  A Ladd’s operation places the intestine in a position that is much less likely to twist or become obstructed.

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