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Int J Surg Case Rep. 2011;2(6):141-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2011.03.004. Epub 2011 Apr 5.

Petersen's space hernia: A rare but expanding diagnosis.

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Hospital de São João, Department of Surgery, Porto, Portugal.



Petersen's space hernia is caused by the herniation of intestinal loops through the defect between the small bowel limbs, the transverse mesocolon and the retroperitoneum, after any type of gastrojejunostomy. The laparoscopic approach facilitates the occurrence of this type of hernia, due to the lack of post-operative adhesions which prevent bowel motility and hence, herniation.


We report the case of a 46 year-old male submitted to an open antrectomy and vagotomy with a Roux-en-Y reconstruction six-years before, for the treatment of bleeding gastric ulcer.He presented with epigastric abdominal pain radiating to the back and alimentary vomiting with a 3 days evolution, with an episode of hematemesis 2 h before admission. His abdomen was bloated and tender at the epigastric region. The laboratory exams revealed mild leucocytosis and CRP elevation with normal pancreatic tests. The abdominal CT scan revealed an intestinal occlusion. An exploratory laparotomy was performed, disclosing an incarcerated Petersen space hernia of the common limb, with obstruction and dilatation of the biliary limb.


The knowledge of this anatomic post-operative defect and a low threshold for diagnosis are crucial to its management, since its nonspecific clinical and laboratory findings. Early operative intervention is warranted in order to avoid the severe complications of bowel necrosis.


Gastrectomy; Hernia; Intestinal obstruction; Roux-en-Y

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