• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of annsurgLink to Publisher's site
Ann Surg. Aug 1997; 226(2): 134–138.
PMCID: PMC1190946

Adult intussusception.


OBJECTIVE: The objectives were to review adult intussusception, its diagnosis, and its treatment. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Adult intussusception represents 1% of all bowel obstructions, 5% of all intussusceptions, and 0.003%-0.02% of all hospital admissions. Intussusception is a different entity in adults than it is in children. METHODS: The records of all patients 18 years and older with the postoperative diagnosis of intussusception at the Massachusetts General Hospital during the years 1964 through 1993 were reviewed retrospectively. The 58 patients were divided into those with benign enteric, malignant enteric, benign colonic, and malignant colonic lesions associated with their intussusception. The diagnosis and treatment of each were reviewed. RESULTS: In 30 years at the Massachusetts General Hospital, there are 58 cases of surgically proven adult intussusception. The patients' mean age was 54.4 years. Most patients presented with symptoms consistent with bowel obstruction. There were 44 enteric and 14 colonic intussusceptions. Ninety-three percent of the intussusceptions were associated with a pathologic lesion. Forty-eight percent of the enteric lesions were malignant and 52% were benign. Forty-three percent of the colonic lesions were malignant and 57% were benign. CONCLUSIONS: Intussusception occurs rarely in adults. It presents with a variety of acute, intermittent, and chronic symptoms, thus making its preoperative diagnosis difficult. Computed tomography scanning proved to be the most useful diagnostic radiologic method. The diagnosis and treatment of adult intussusception are surgical. Surgical resection of the intussusception without reduction is the preferred treatment in adults, as almost half of both colonic and enteric intussusceptions are associated with malignancy.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (808K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Laws HL, Aldrete JS. Small-bowel obstruction: a review of 465 cases. South Med J. 1976 Jun;69(6):733–734. [PubMed]
  • Stewardson RH, Bombeck CT, Nyhus LM. Critical operative management of small bowel obstruction. Ann Surg. 1978 Feb;187(2):189–193. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • DONHAUSER JL, KELLY EC. Intussusception in the adult. Am J Surg. 1950 May;79(5):673–677. [PubMed]
  • Agha FP. Intussusception in adults. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1986 Mar;146(3):527–531. [PubMed]
  • Coleman MJ, Hugh TB, May RE, Jensen MJ. Intussusception in the adult. Aust N Z J Surg. 1981 Apr;51(2):179–180. [PubMed]
  • SANDERS GB, HAGAN WH, KINNAIRD DW. Adult intussusception and carcinoma of the colon. Ann Surg. 1958 Jun;147(6):796–804. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Nagorney DM, Sarr MG, McIlrath DC. Surgical management of intussusception in the adult. Ann Surg. 1981 Feb;193(2):230–236. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Weilbaecher D, Bolin JA, Hearn D, Ogden W., 2nd Intussusception in adults. Review of 160 cases. Am J Surg. 1971 May;121(5):531–535. [PubMed]
  • Stubenbord WT, Thorbjarnarson B. Intussusception in adults. Ann Surg. 1970 Aug;172(2):306–310. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Felix EL, Cohen MH, Bernstein AD, Schwartz JH. Adult intussusception; case report of recurrent intussusception and review of the literature. Am J Surg. 1976 Jun;131(6):758–761. [PubMed]
  • Bar-Ziv J, Solomon A. Computed tomography in adult intussusception. Gastrointest Radiol. 1991 Summer;16(3):264–266. [PubMed]
  • Iko BO, Teal JS, Siram SM, Chinwuba CE, Roux VJ, Scott VF. Computed tomography of adult colonic intussusception: clinical and experimental studies. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1984 Oct;143(4):769–772. [PubMed]
  • Montali G, Croce F, De Pra L, Solbiati L. Intussusception of the bowel: a new sonographic pattern. Br J Radiol. 1983 Sep;56(669):621–623. [PubMed]
  • Lande A, Schechter LS, Bole PV. Angiographic diagnosis of small intestinal intussusception. Radiology. 1977 Mar;122(3):691–693. [PubMed]
  • Duszynski DO, Anthone R. Jejunal intussusception demonstrated by Tc99m pertechnetate and abdominal scanning. Am J Roentgenol Radium Ther Nucl Med. 1970 Aug;109(4):729–732. [PubMed]
  • Harlaftis N, Skandalakis JE, Droulias C, Gray SW, Akin JT., Jr The pattern of intussusception in adults. J Med Assoc Ga. 1977 Jul;66(7):534–539. [PubMed]
  • Smith IS, Gillespie G. Adult intussusception in Glasgow. Br J Surg. 1968 Dec;55(12):925–928. [PubMed]
  • ROPER A. Intussusception in adults. Surg Gynecol Obstet. 1956 Sep;103(3):267–278. [PubMed]
  • Prater JM, Olshemski FC. Adult intussusception. Am Fam Physician. 1993 Feb 1;47(2):447–452. [PubMed]

Articles from Annals of Surgery are provided here courtesy of Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...