Intussusception is a serious condition seen in babies and young infants resulting from a blockage to the bowel. It causes crying which can occur in bouts with periods where the infants seems settled in between.
This page answers these questions:
This is a condition where you get telescoping of the bowel into itself which causes a blockage.
Sometimes the blockage resolves by itself. However, often the blockage remains and this can be serious for babies and needs to be corrected. Read on for more details of when to be concerned.
Babies tend to get intermittent abdominal pain - they have crying bouts where they characteristically draw up their legs. The cry is usually different from their normal cry. They then can be settled for a while before having another bout of pain and crying.
Babies may also have vomiting (which may be bile-stained) and in some cases, they may pass blood in the bowel motion - it can look like red-currant jelly. This is a late sign and you need to get to a hospital quickly if your baby passes a bowel motion that looks like red-currant jelly.
Sometimes the doctor will feel a fullness in the abdomen. There may be changes on x-ray that will help make the diagnosis. However, ultrasound scan is the best test to diagnose the condition.
The condition is usually treated by gently pushing the bowel back into its normal position by gently pushing air or fluid in through the back-passage (rectum). This is done by experienced staff in the radiology department. Sometimes, infants will need an operation and it is important an experienced surgeon is standing by when the radiology staff try to reduce the bowel (put the bowel back where it should be).
If the blockage lasts for a long time, the wall of the bowel will not get enough blood coming to it and this will cause a weakness in the wall and so the bowel could burst open (perforate). This is potentially life-threatening - your baby would look very unwell if this was happening.
Sometimes, when the bowel is being reduced (put back in place) in the radiology department, the bowel could perforate as well - that is why we always have an experienced surgeon on hand when we do this procedure.
If there is a perforation, an urgent operation is needed to fix it.
Last reviewed 24 May 2011
|We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health