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Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. 2006 Mar-Apr;35(2):65-74.

Small bowel obstruction: computed tomography features and pitfalls.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, South Manchester University Hospital, Wythenshawe Hospital, Wythenshawe, Manchester, United Kingdom.


Computed tomography (CT) has become established as an ideal form of imaging in small bowel obstruction (SBO), especially with modern day multiplanar imaging that is now widely available. CT can confirm the presence of SBO; show the site, level, and cause of obstruction accurately; and detect strangulation. It is important to recognize the common and unusual causes, but also conditions that mimic SBO. This review illustrates a spectrum of causes and discusses conditions that mimic SBO and their differentiation and the limitations of CT in the assessment of suspected SBO.

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