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Clin Anat. 2011 Jul;24(5):634-7. doi: 10.1002/ca.21131. Epub 2011 Feb 14.

The role of the anatomy of the sigmoid colon in developing sigmoid volvulus: a case-control study.

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Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.


Sigmoid volvulus is a common condition throughout much of the world. To this date, there are no adequately controlled clinical trials examining the role of anatomy in sigmoid volvulus. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine if the anatomic dimensions of the sigmoid colon differ in sigmoid volvulus compared to controls. This prospective case-control study was conducted at Kamuzu Central Hospital, Lilongwe, Malawi. Cases included individuals 18 years or older with surgically confirmed sigmoid volvulus, while controls included individuals undergoing surgery for reasons unrelated to the descending or sigmoid colon, or rectum. Intraoperative measurements of the sigmoid colon were taken, including mesosigmoid root width and mesosigmoid length. A total of 26 cases and 12 controls were enrolled. When compared to controls, the mesosigmoid of cases had a greater length and maximal width; however, mesosigmoid root width was similar between groups. These findings support the assertion that sigmoid volvulus is due to a long and wide mesosigmoid that rotates on a constant mesosigmoid root width. This is the first adequately controlled trial examining anatomy in sigmoid volvulus and provides strong evidence that refines prior hypotheses regarding the anatomic basis of sigmoid volvulus.

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