Intussusception is a serious disorder in which part of the intestine slides into an adjacent part of the intestine. This "telescoping" often blocks food or fluid from passing through. Intussusception also cuts off the blood supply to the part of the intestine that's affected. Intussusception can lead to a tear in the bowel (perforation), infection and death of bowel tissue. Intussusception is the most common cause of intestinal obstruction in children younger than 3.
Intussusception is the most common cause of intestinal obstruction in infants between 6 and 36 months of age. Approximately 60 percent of children are younger than one year old, and 80 to 90 percent are younger than two years. Intussusception is less common before three months and after six years of age. In a population-wide survey in Switzerland, the yearly mean incidence of intussusception was 38, 31, and 26 cases per 100,000 live births in the first, second, and third year of life, respectively, and was less than half that rate in older age groups .
An enema is the first step in treatment. In fact, an enema that is used to diagnose intussusception may also help to treat it. Pressure from the air or fluid may cause the intestine to correct itself. The result of an enema treatment might not last, so patients usually stay in the hospital overnight for observation. Surgery is another treatment option. Intussusception surgery involves either a large incision or a small incision and a camera. This is called laparoscopic surgery. The type of surgery depends on the location and severity of the obstruction. Intussusception surgery may include removal of the affected section of intestine.