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Case report
Small bowel diaphragm disease from long-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use


Small bowel diaphragm disease (SBDD) is characterised by circumferential lesions of short length (<5 mm), causing intrinsic stenosis of the small bowel lumen. A 63-year-old women with a history of long-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use, presented with a 12-month history of intermittent episodes of colicky abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Her only past surgery was a laparoscopic hysterectomy. Abdominal CT demonstrated an area of thickening in the mid small bowel, however a diagnostic laparoscopy failed to demonstrate adhesions or any external abnormality. A capsule endoscope did not progress beyond the mid small bowel at the site of a suspected diaphragm. The patient underwent a laparotomy and using the retained capsule as a marker, the area of bowel affected by SBDD was identified. With an ageing population and the widespread use of non-steroidalanti-inflammatory drugs, general surgeons may see an increase in the incidence of SBDD.

  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • General surgery
  • Small intestine

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