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Int J Colorectal Dis. 2004 Jan;19(1):68-72. Epub 2003 Jun 28.

Intestinal invagination in adults: preoperative diagnosis and management.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery, Hospital General Universitario J.M. Morales Meseguer, C/Marqués de los Vélez s/n, 30008, Murcia, Spain.



Intestinal invagination in adults is an uncommon but potentially serious condition that is usually diagnosed during surgery by the presence of a mechanical obstructive syndrome. We report a series of adults with intestinal invagination and discuss preoperative diagnosis and surgical procedures.


We analyzed the files of all the seven patients aged over 18 years with a postoperative diagnosis of intestinal invagination and treated at our center between 1996 and 2000.


Preoperative causal diagnosis was established in six cases by ultrasonography and computed tomography. All the patients received surgery, three as emergency and four programmed. The lesions causing the invagination were: three benign (Meckel's diverticulum, inflammatory pseudotumor, fibroid polyp) and one malignant (degenerative villous adenoma polyp) located in the terminal ileum, two malignant lesions in the cecum (both adenocarcinomas over a polyp), and in the remaining case a double lymphoma of the jejunum and ileum. The intussusceptions were ileoileal in three cases and ileocolic in four. We performed intestinal resection in six cases and one excision of Meckel's diverticulum.


Preoperative diagnosis of intussusception was possible in most cases. Sonography and computed tomography proved the most effective and useful preoperative diagnostic methods. In adults colonic invagination is almost always malignant while small bowel is almost always benign. Invagination in adults must be clarified by surgery, and intestinal resection is the procedure of choice.

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