A 38-year-old male who sustained blunt abdominal trauma at work presented to the emergency department with complaints of abdominal pain localized primarily in the peri-umbilical region. The patient was discharged home after a brief uneventful hospitalization only to return 13 days later with signs and symptoms of acute bowel obstruction. Following clinical and radiological workup, a computed tomography (CT) scan was obtained which revealed markedly dilated and thickened bowel, induration and vascular congestion seen along the adjacent mesentery with fat stranding. The patient was taken emergently to the operating room (OR) where a small mesenteric defect was found, secondary to trauma, facilitating an internal hernia precipitating a small bowel obstruction. We urge the surgeon to maintain a low index of suspicion for acute bowel obstruction in the blunt trauma population. A CT scan is essential in evaluating this patient population and we cannot underscore enough the importance and value of this modality in radiologic imaging. We further recommend resection of the compromised bowel and associated mesentery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging