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Small bowel volvulus versus adhesive small bowel obstruction: a diagnostic dilemma in a 19-year-old woman
  1. Kay Tai Choy and
  2. Nathan Brunott
  1. Cairns Hospital, Cairns North, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kay Tai Choy, kaytai.choy{at}


Small bowel volvulus (SBV) is often challenging to diagnose. Research suggests that the clinical presentation of this disease is often very similar to other more common causes of small bowel obstruction (SBO) such as intraabdominal adhesions and no single preoperative diagnostic study is sensitive or specific enough to identify this rare cause of mechanical SBO. This report describes a case of a 19-year-old woman who presented with irretractable vomiting and abdominal pain secondary to SBV. This case is unusual as her history of recurrent adhesive SBO presented a diagnostic dilemma that required a higher degree of clinical suspicion to tease these differential diagnoses apart. She underwent laparoscopy which facilitated successful detorsion and resection of the floppy tongue of jejunum. This report aims to increase the awareness among surgeons.

  • gastrointestinal surgery
  • primary care
  • radiology

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  • Contributors KTC wrote up the manuscript after obtaining patient consent. NB was the senior surgeon who performed the operation on the patient and provided overall supervision.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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