Intussusception (Intu-sus-ception)is a medical condition in which a part of the intestine folds into the section next to it. It typically involves the small bowel and less commonly the large bowel.
Intussusception usually results in a blockage of the intestine.
Intussusception occurs primarily in infants (boys more often than girls) but can also occur in adults and older children.
The cause in children is typically unknown while in adults a lead point is often present. Risk factors in children include certain infections, diseases like cystic fibrosis, and intestinal polyps. Risk factors in adults include endometriosis, bowel adhesions, and intestinal tumors.
Symptoms include abdominal pain which may come and go, vomiting, abdominal bloating, and bloody stool. It often results in a small bowel obstruction. Other complications may include peritonitis or bowel perforation.
Diagnosis is often supported by medical imaging. In children, ultrasound is preferred while in adults a CT scan is preferred.
Intussusception is an emergency requiring rapid treatment. Treatment in children is typically by an enema with surgery used if this is not successful. In adults, surgical removal of part of the bowel is more often required. Intussusception occurs more commonly in children than adults. In children, males are more often affected than females. The usual age of occurrence is six to eighteen months old.
Early diagnosis and treatment of intussusception are essential to save the intestine and the patient.