During the past 14 years 16 patients developed postoperative small bowel intussusception. This occurred following a variety of operative procedures. The clinical signs and symptoms were often erroneously attributed to postoperative ileus.
In each instance the condition followed operative manipulation of the intestine or retroperitoneal tissues and unlike the classical intussusception involved only the small bowel. Rectal bleeding did not occur and an abdominal mass was not palpable. The most valuable preoperative diagnostic study was a roentgenogram of the abdomen with recumbent and upright views demonstrating the classic picture of complete small bowel obstruction.
The treatment in each instance was laparotomy with manual reduction of the intussusception. No lead point was demonstrated in any of the patients. All recovered to leave the hospital.