A mechanical disruption in the patency of the gastrointestinal tract.
A medical emergency that requires early diagnosis and intervention.
Typically presents with the combined symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, and failure to pass flatus or stool per rectum.
Diagnosis is generally based upon clinical and radiographic features.
Treatment involves a combination of nasogastric decompression and intravenous fluids. Surgery may be required, so the diagnosis requires urgent surgical assessment.
Patients who are treated in a timely manner have a very good prognosis. If untreated, it is often fatal.
Small bowel obstruction (SBO) is a mechanical disruption in the patency of the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in a combination of emesis (that may be bilious), absolute constipation, and abdominal pain.
Consultant Colorectal Surgeon
Department of Coloproctology
St. Mark's Hospital
JTJ declares that he has no competing interests.
Honorary Clinical Lecturer
Department of Surgery and Cancer
GM declares that he has no competing interests.
Dr John T. Jenkins and Dr George Malietzis would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Frances J. McNicol and Dr David J. Hackam, previous contributors to this monograph. FJM and DJH declare that they have no competing interests.
Chief Academic Officer
Emeritus Chief of Staff (1997-2007)
Chairman Department of Colorectal Surgery
Professor of Surgery Ohio State University
Affiliate Professor Department of Surgery
Division of General Surgery
University of South Florida College of Medicine
Cleveland Clinic Florida
SDW declares that he has no competing interests.
Use of this content is subject to our disclaimer