Intestinal malrotation and volvulus

During fetal development, a baby’s intestines should change from a straight tube to a twisted one by developing two twists during the organ’s growth. If these twists do not occur correctly, intestinal malrotation occurs. This causes the cecum, a portionĀ of the small intestine near the bottom of the organ, to develop improperly and grow in an abnormal place within the abdomen. As a result, bands of tissue may form that connect the cecum to the abdominal wall.

In most cases, intestinal malrotation is identified within the first year of a baby’s life, often soon after birth. However, some children with an intestinal malrotation may never experience any symptoms or require corrective surgery. Others may not experience symptoms until they are teenagers or adults.

For some children, an intestinal malrotation can lead to a condition called a volvulus, in which the small intestine becomes tangled inside the abdomen. As a result, part of the intestine may become blocked, food is not digested properly and the organ does not receive enough blood.

Surgeons can correct an intestinal malrotation and volvulus by opening the abdomen and untangling the small intestine. This should release any intestinal blockage and return proper blood flow to the organ. Doctors will check on the patient’s small intestine a few days after surgery to ensure it is receiving adequate blood flow and seems healthy.

Patients who pass this post-surgery checkup should not experience any other problems as a result of the intestinal malrotation or volvulus.

However, if the small intestine has been permanently damaged by lack of blood flow, surgeons may need to remove the unhealthy portion. In these cases, the patient may require a colostomy, a surgery to create an opening in the abdomen through which waste is excreted into a bag or pouch.

Should this be under GIĀ  or colorectal? This condition can be life threatening. Why? Volvulus can occur without malrotation – see medline plus

Last reviewed by: NAME, DATE