Mark W Arnold, MD
- General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery
Colon volvulus is an abnormal twisting within the gastrointestinal tract that can impair blood flow.
Most cases occur in the sigmoid colon, the S-shaped last part of the large intestine that leads to the rectum. When the twisting happens here, it is called sigmoid volvulus.
Less frequently, the twisting occurs in the cecum, which is the pouch that connects the small and large intestines and ascending colon. This is called cecal volvulus.
Colon volvulus usually occurs suddenly. The area above the twist continues to work and fills with food, fluid and gas. However, below the twist, blood-starved tissue can die or tear, creating a life-threatening medical emergency.
Volvulus is most commonly caused by a birth defect called malrotation, when the bowel becomes misaligned during fetal development.
Potential symptoms of colon volvulus include sudden:
Prompt diagnosis is important.
Colon volvulus is a surgical emergency that requires immediate repair to return normal blood flow.
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