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Pediatric Intussusception

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Summary

Intussusception is an intestinal obstruction that occurs when one length of bowel “telescopes” into another.   This can be found in children of all ages, but most commonly occurs in children from 3 months to 3 years of age. An intussusception is an emergency and must be corrected immediately.  

Causes

The cause in younger children is unclear. Intussusceptions in older children are frequently caused by polyps, diverticuli and occasionally serious tumors.  A bowel obstruction from intussusception in an older child almost always requires surgery as a result.

Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Lump in abdomen
  • Pain
  • Stool mixed with blood and mucus
  • Vomiting

Not all infants and children show symptoms.

Treatment 

  • Most intussusceptions can be treated by the radiologist with an air enema. This pushes the bowel trapped in intussusception back to its normal position. 
  • If this is unsuccessful, an operation is required to reduce the trapped bowel.  

 

 

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