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Am J Surg. 1993 Jan;165(1):121-5; discussion 125-6.

How conservatively can postoperative small bowel obstruction be treated?

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Department of Surgery, Hadassah University Hospital Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel.


Although postoperative adhesion ileus is the most common cause of small bowel obstruction in adults, its management remains controversial. We retrospectively studied 297 admissions of 227 patients over a period of 14 years to evaluate our conservative approach in managing adhesion ileus. We found that nonoperative therapy of up to 5 days' duration can be used safely for the majority of patients who present with postoperative intestinal obstruction, including those with complete obstruction. In those patients, who responded to conservative treatment, the obstruction resolved within a mean of 22 hours and a maximum of 5 days. A trial of more than 5 days' duration proved ineffective. The conservative approach resulted in a 73% resolution of obstruction with no significant increase in mortality or in the rate of strangulated bowel.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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