Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract

2017 Edition
| Editors: Fátima Carneiro, Paula Chaves, Arzu Ensari

Intestinal Obstruction

  • Maria SotiropoulouEmail author
Reference work entry


Bowel obstruction; Ileus


Intestinal obstruction is a partial or complete mechanical blockage of the bowel that prevents the contents, food, and fluid from passing through the intestinal lumen. The most common cause of mechanical intestinal obstruction in industrialized countries is scar tissue − intra-abdominal adhesions − from previous operations and accounts for approximately 65–75% of cases. Other causes include foreign bodies (items that were eaten), rarely gallstones, hernias (portion of intestine protruding into a structure or muscle), intussusception where a part of bowel telescopes and is trapped by an adjacent portion of the intestine. Other causes are bowel tumors or external tumors, inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and twisted intestine called volvulus. Impairs of venous drainage or arterial flow caused by colon twist on its mesentery is the mechanism of obstruction in volvulus.

The leading cause of small bowel obstruction is the...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Cappell, M. S., & Bakke, M. (2008). Mechanical obstruction of the small bowel and colon. The Medical Clinics of North America, 92(3), 575–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Kahi, C. J., & Rex, D. K. (2003). Bowel obstruction and pseudo-obstruction. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America, 32(4), 1229–1247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Khaikin, M., Schneidereit, N., Cera, S., et al. (2007). Laparoscopic vs open surgery for acute adhesive small bowel obstruction: Patients outcome and cost effectiveness. Surgical Endoscopy, 21(5), 742–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Morson, B. C., & Shepherd, N. A. (2003). Morson and Dawson’s gastrointestinal pathology (4th ed., pp. 544–545). Hoboken: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Turnage, R. H., & Heldmann, M. (2010). Intestinal obstruction. In Sleisenger and Fordtran’s gastrointestinal and liver disease (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier. Chap 119.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyAlexandra HospitalAthensGreece